A stray drop of rain lands on my forehead,
begins to drip.  The sensation drawing out
memories of a plaid jumper, knee-high
navy socks, button-up white shirt, shoes
with a spot for a penny on each foot,
one cent each. I can feel where the stiff leather
will rub a blister on the back of my heel.
One sock held my lunch card during recess.
The thick paper working against my foot
would be as soft as a tissue by Friday.
If mom sent me with cash
the card was swapped out for a nickel,
change the lunch lady told me not to lose
but the jumper didn’t have pockets,
and if I hurried I could get near the front
of the four-square line before the bell rang
and we had to line up at the curb
trying to get a spot next to our friends
even though once we got inside the church
the teachers would make us sit
boy girl boy girl. The bowl of holy
water at the doors always felt cool,
father son and holy spirit,
a drop slowly sliding down my forehead.

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About the Author

Poetry is my caffeine. My many roles in life (so far) have included teacher, school counselor, bookmobile driver, furniture factory worker, volunteer coordinator, daughter, aunt, wife, mother, reader and writer. My book Buried in the Suburbs was published in 2018 by Woodley Press (2019 Kansas Notable Book Award. My chapbook Domesticated: Poetry from Around the House was published in 2015 (Finishing Line Press). For a complete list of publications see

Jamie Lynn Heller
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