local_library Ninth Summer

by Frances Badgett

Published in Issue No. 196 ~ September, 2013

The small pool beckoned

deadly edged and deckled blue.

Lemonade-stuck fingers

soaked beneath the hose, the water

rising to meet our knees.

There was a scream, a slam, another

word from the adult world, hurled

over the flowerboxed window.

Inside, reflections of the sink had bounced

on the yellow ceiling and our hands

smudged with mud and dust,

had grabbed our handfuls,

as much gingerbread

as two nine-year-old fists could carry.

We splashed back into the cold hose water

of the blue pool. The heat everywhere

like light, like breath.

Your mother called us shits

slammed the back door

and cried for an hour

on her quilted bed, her hair

like branches and nests,

her eyes wild at the end of it

as if war had thrashed inside her bones.

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Frances Badgett is a writer and editor. She is the fiction editor of Contrary Magazine, and has just completed her first novel, Pale Mother. She lives in Bellingham, Washington with her husband and daughter.