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.