A CLEVELAND ABSTRACTION: CHILDHOOD MELODY
This is Browns Country, Go Browns, Go Browns, go browns, Super Bowl Sunday, Super Bowl Sunday sandwiches, orange and brown winter hats and women’s socks flashing bare ankles, a bulldog whose pointed bottom teeth split its face, Sarge, brown and white, “Brindle,” Mom used to say, black nose, flaking, our snake, poised and striking, striking Sarge for sniffing, three months lost in our house, three months. “There’s still poop in the yard,” windy winters, icicles hanging from the metal banisters on Grandma’s porch, building a snowman with my Uncle Eugene in Grandma’s front yard, sinking in snow to my thighs, jumping in fresh snow just like water, jumping in piles of leaves on Lexington Avenue, the neighbors raking large piles of leaves to the edge of their yards, walking down the street with a rake in tow, the first five-dollar bill I earned raking leaves, walking to school on East Broad, that girl who walked behind me and called me the B-word, using Mom’s new typewriter to make her a “Mom-of-the-Year” award, CONGRATULATIONS: YOU ARE THE MOM OF THE YEAR, a slip of paper I typed on and tucked into the mail box, Mom typing away essays on her new typewriter, Mom going to nursing school, Mom’s Anatomy and Physiology flashcards, our small stoop of a front porch tucked behind big green bushes, a bitch of a girl at the pool who snuck up behind me, slapped my head, and said “Bugs,” the summer I had lice three times, combing Natalie’s long, curly hair thin section by thin section with a lice comb, Natalie’s frizzing hair, stepping in Sarge’s hot dog shit at the top of the stairs, Sarge’s shit between my toes, five dogs, who the fuck has five dogs? We had five dogs, Rich dumped four of them, Kelly, chubby, straight, blond hair, Amy, very fat, singing “Silent All These Years”, the tom-boy I fell in love with, listening to Dr. Dre on cassette with Mom’s stereo turned all the way up, Rich, listening to Reba with Mom’s stereo turned all the way up, eating spaghetti mixed with ranch, our narrow kitchen, the forest green tile, the archway between the living room and the hallway, breaking my pinky toes on the edge of the archway, kneeling on rice in the hall, hardwood floors, huge living room windows, heavy, maroon curtains, Rich sitting on the couch in his underwear watching football, holding encyclopedias away from my sides as a punishment, sitting on mass-produced, Home Depot barstools in the kitchen to reach the high counter-top, big piles of sauerkraut on my plate, Mom’s dining room table, Mom sanding and staining her dining room table, Mom sanding and staining her table by hand, spilling nail polish remover all over Mom’s dining room table, Mom’s typewriter sticking to her dining room table, nail polish remover softening the dining room table, the finish adhering the typewriter and the table together in glue-like fashion, Mom resanding and restaining her dining room table, Rich’s crazy, red, thin, curly, dry, stand-up-off-his-head hair, throwing up all over my daybed, throwing up all over Natalie’s daybed because I was afraid, eating too much at the bowling alley, missing AA’s Breakfast with Santa, our pink, Pepto Bismol room, picking lint out of the carpet in my bedroom, bowling Thursday nights and Sundays at noon, bowling Thursday nights and missing Sundays at noon, Mom’s Wilton Decorating classes at Michael’s at night, three tiered wedding cakes, bachelorette cakes, frosting dicks, frosting roses, frosting tips, frosting tits, frosting bags, frosting mice, liquid frosting, character licensing, “donation” pay, cake boxes, cakes pans, cakes rising, cakes falling, black, bitter frosting, royal frosting, frosting gates, frosting dots, Easter dots, 24 hours of drying.
Krystal Sierra, a graduate of Baldwin-Wallace College, is a writer and photographer. She has been published by The Mill, Writing Knights Press and The Cleveland Review. She was the recipient of the 2011 A.W. “Bud” Collins Jr. Prize in Creative Writing. http://krystalmariesierra.blogspot.com