we pirouetted round the Baptist church floors,
passed the gilded food stamps:
sacrificed penny-sweets for Jesus.
Forest-bound, we ran,
sucker-sticks pointed in case of rapists,
squealed on the merry-go-round,
we were only eight, in leather, painted-up-jackets.
Our Wonder Bread-fed uncle
taught us the art of catching fireflys in jars,
our slow cousin, Mary, cussing their burning bodies backwards,
Mythological Great-Nana tied a string round a wart,
rubbed that bump with a sharp stick,
buried it under the weeping tree.
String, buried, deep, deep, deep,
only to pop on the toes,
of our uncle,
as he swung, finally free,
on the prison floor.
We processed, mournfully black,
food-stamps in hand,
to the corner-store.
Some of us, sweets in hand, didn't look back.