Cranston, RI 1964

Written by Martha Brenckle

Sycamore.jpg
Image: Sycamore by Melinda Giordano

 

It isn’t clear where the memory came from
A late afternoon in August
gray storm clouds scudded in from the west
The rain hadn’t started yet
but the air felt electric, alive with promise
I sat on the concrete balustrade
on my grandparents’ front porch
Shaped like a slide with a ball at the end
I could lie back with cool stone safely at my back
and read in the afternoons before supper

I loved my grandparents’ three-story house
the beige asphalt shingles and dark green front door
the short expanse of my grandfather’s front lawn
soft and green, he spent hours weeding and watering
We had just come home from the market
full of more food than anyone could eat in a year
The bins of produce were lined up in magical colors
yellow peppers, green broccoli, red tomatoes

I could hear my grandmother chopping zucchini
I knew she would make us coffee milk
stirred in aluminum cups, green for me, blue for my brother
My grandfather wouldn’t have to eat vegetables
My brother and I read elephant jokes to each other:
Why did the elephant cross the road?
What time is it when an elephant sits on a fence?
How do you fit an elephant in the refrigerator?
We played jacks until the rain started
The thick drops cooled the air
filled the evening with promise

 

featured in our summer 2018 issue

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