Childhood Truths and Secrets

At six, my world was black and white,

without those shades of gray.

My truth was sometimes mine alone,

no mind what others say.

 

I knew I would awaken every morning to the delicious aroma of bacon and hot biscuits.

I didn’t know my mother rose at 5 a.m. to start the fire in the iron cooking stove.

 

I knew if we planted corn in spring, we’d have roasting ears with butter in summer.

I didn’t realize the kernels had to be watered and weeded – it was all garden magic.

 

I knew on July 4th, we’d pig out on watermelon and homemade strawberry ice cream.

I didn’t question why Daddy hung the flag and saluted the old men riding in the parade.

 

I knew on Saturdays, Daddy and my uncles drank wine from bottles in brown paper bags.

I didn’t understand why Mom and the aunts yelled at them when they passed out later.

 

I knew school was a magical, safe place, filled with books I couldn’t wait to read.

I didn’t know those imaginary worlds would carry me through so many hard times.

 

I knew from our Bible School stories, there were poor children in far-away lands.

I didn’t know until I entered junior high school in seventh grade that I was poor too.

 

I knew my grandparents adored me and treated me like a beautiful princess.

I couldn’t know how much I would miss that unconditional love when they were gone.

 

At six, my world was black and white,

the good, the bad, the strange.

My truth was often mine alone,

to create — rearrange.

 

 

Sharon Canfield Dorsey is an award-winning poet and author of two children’s books, Herman, the Hermit Crab and the Mystery of the Big, Black, Shiny Thing and Revolt of the Teacups; a memoir, Daughter of the Mountains; and a book of poetry, Tapestry. Her poems are also included in an anthology, Captured Moments. WATCH FOR A NEW CHILDREN’S BOOK IN THE FALL OF 2018, ILLUSTRATED BY HER GRANDDAUGHTERS.

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