Page 34 - October 2020
P. 34

SWAN





                                                          for Stephanie Emily
                                                                  Dickinson and Rob Cook

                                         a flash memoir prose poem
                                                                                              Cindy
                                                                                           Hochman




                      My  brilliant  attorney/poet  father—in  my  mind  a  cross
                      between Clarence Darrow, Oliver Wendell Holmes, and
                      Atticus Finch—intense lake-blue eyes, crow-black hair,
                      the  epitome  of  Aquarian  sensitivity,  once  said  to  me
                      kids can be cruel.

                      And  they  were.  Especially  when  faced  with  an
                      abnormally  pale,  rat-sized,  slightly  off-kilter  proverbial
                      ugly  duckling  sporting  outdated  high-water  pants  and
                      an unsightly pre-Madonna mole on her lower right chin.
                      They  swiped  my  peanut  butter  sandwiches.  They
                      hogged  all  the  Oreos  that  had  been  placed  lovingly  in
                      my lunchbox by the beautiful lady who had recently wed
                      my dashing widower dad. And with their grubby, unkind

                      hands they invaded my vulnerable pockets and filched
                      my dollar bills and spare change, leaving only remnants
                      of  lint  and  the  scent  of  post-traumatic  desolation.One
                      day  they  decided  to  mold  something  sticky  into  my
                      already  gnarled  and  knotted  hair.  My  Spanish  teacher,
                      muy guapo, on whom I had the usual pubescent crush,
                      had to cut out the mucky sludge with scissors while my
                      face  blazed  away  in  various  shades  of  scarlet  and  my
                      bowels did the Mexican Hat Dance. I don’t think I need
                      to add the fact that I was an anal-retentive goody-goody;
                      I  sense  that  I  already  had  you  at  proverbial  ugly
                      duckling.


                      Then,  as  in  most  superficial  transformations,  Ms.  Ugly

                      Duckling, though not eradicated, was submerged.
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