[Moonshot #3: Secret]
Heather Foster ☛ Heat Wave, 1956
Even though I knew girls weren’t supposed to,
I’d put on my brother’s cutoff jean shorts, then get
to work, mix up cornbread, fix purple hull peas, tomatoes.
Alone in the house, I’d put the forks and spoons
in the icebox the school let Daddy have
when they got a new one. Cold spoon back
in the crook of my knee, delicious cold
fat fork handle rolled up and down my arm,
I listened to Elvis, my shoes clamped shut
with hog wire, my shirt tied in a knot above
my belly button, my hips swaying, covered
in pink oval spoon back marks. I would have
never stopped. But once, Daddy came in with
an empty water jug, stray cotton in his wild,
blonde hair, and he grabbed my hot arm,
hollering what if it had been another man
who caught you that way, ain’t you got no shame?
pulled me into the yard, chickens scattering,
cut a hickory switch, and striped my legs good,
until it drew the blood, drew out every riff I’d danced to.
The denim shorts soaked up the mess
and that summer, my brother wore them every day
to the swimming hole where boys
went after picking cotton, after supper,
where they shoveled peas into their hot mouths,
and didn’t know they were tasting
my eyelids on the underside of their spoons.
Heather Foster lives on a 144-acre farm in Tennessee with her husband, kids, and Ozzy the heavy metal rooster. She is currently completing her poetry thesis in the MFA program at Murray State University. Her poetry and fiction is featured or forthcoming in PANK Magazine, Monkeybicycle, Anderbo, and Country Dog Review.