my mother and her cousin laugh

my mother and her cousin laugh
beneath the broad plantation oaks
in August, 1949
they bleach their hair with lemon juice
and water from artesian springs
determined to be blonder than they are

and one is pretty
and one is plain
but only the plain one knows
their dreams are the dreams
of not-quite-good girls
with ten bucks worth of thread between them

they shake their heads and whip their hair
like thrilling, dancing, dainty mares
soon some future maladept love
will look into their shattering eyes
and lose his raw and makeshift soul

anyone can tell
just watching them
that God’s a fool
for these were meant
to live forever

—Don Whittington

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2 thoughts on “my mother and her cousin laugh

  1. Again you leave me searching for the right word to express my feelings. Sad, not enough. Touching – wrong slant. Poignant – I think. That sort of gathers the emotions when we “look into their shattering eyes.”
    I agree with Hector, The pics are great.

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