By Mary Redman
We roamed on sneakered feet a five-block radius
from home wearing hats we made
of rhubarb leaves grown at alley’s edge.
Ruffled rims shaded our eyes, etched our faces
with shadow-cast tattoos, tribal markings
to show we owned the world we knew. Nomads,
hunter-gatherers of walnuts and ripe mulberries
that stained our fingers blue,
we stole sugar from our mothers’ kitchens
to sweeten rhubarb stalks, and talked
and dreamed of rides in real rowboats instead
of floating washtubs on backyard floods
in spring. Like spies, we collected cast-off
treasures in unlocked garages,
and at times, defying prohibition,
we neared the empty box cars
outside the meat-packing plant and listened
for the sound of ghastly cattle–childish
hunger for peril much stronger than death’s
stench on even the stillest cold winter day.
Mary Redman is a retired high school English teacher who currently supervises student teachers for two universities in Indianapolis. She postponed her writing habit in order to work full time and raise three children. As such, she might be considered an emerging poet–however late-blooming. An active member of the Writers Center in Indianapolis, Mary has taken classes with former Indiana Poet Laureate, Shari Wagner and with poet, Kyle Craig. She has had poems published in Flying Island, Three Line Poetry, Red River Review, and Poetry Quarterly.