Why I Hate Matinees

It’s that sharp divide, entering in the bright

lap of day, exiting in the dark, stars


jagged, the wind with its cold surprises.

It reminds me of something I want to forget.


The night my father pulled me close, his arm

around my shoulder – a rarity – maybe


a first. Ninth grade and I couldn’t wait

for school the next day. I planned to wear


the pink jumper I’d made in home ec.

I saw the warning on my mother’s face


as she watched me soak him in.

I wanted her to be wrong, wanted to believe


that his sudden embrace was as true

as those wild flowers that bloomed overnight


in the field across the street.

Now a lopsided smile at my upturned face,


a wink, a squeeze, “Tell me, sweetheart,”

he said, ”where’d your mother hide my bottle?”




Dannye Romine Powell