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Earliest Memory

by Sally Reece

That’s me in this photo, on the left—

curly-top baby in a galvanized tub

with my  toddler brother—

half in the willow tree’s shadow,

bees buzzing orange marigolds that stink

like sour milk and dirty diapers.


Long before this photo was found,

I remembered being almost drowned

in peed-in bathwater poured from my brother’s boat,

Mother yanking my arm, pulling me out

and spanking my back, stopping my splashing and sputtering.


Here in this photo, the same brother, last June,

grown up and gowned in preacher robes, posing

beside a lone apple tree, Mother’s camera  focused

away from the rotting bushel basket and worms.

This poem is still under construction, but it belongs in this collection of posts about early childhood.