Endowed in perpetuity by the Glenna Luschei Fund for Excellence

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A Girl's Home Journal

A Girl's Home Journal

Elizabeth Gargano

I
Monday. School closed for sickness.
Decided to walk as far as I could
in a morning's time. The air so dry.
The blue peaks: clouds or mountains?

II
Tuesday. Dream'd I
stitched in fine letters
over my heart I will not
even imagine it
.
Helped Aunt with laundry.
The bleach lifts out everything
but bloodstains. In the water,
my hands darken, my knuckles swell.

III
Wednesday. Aunt Lucille
and Uncle Hug took me
to the abandoned city in the cliff.
Women mashed corn between
two stones. Dark & close.
Uncle Hug said you needn't
go in all the way.
Aunt Lucille praised their diligence
over lunch: iced tea, biscuits, chicken gravy.
Remarked those women
lived a long time ago.

IV
Thursday. Woke
with my hand on the door
having walked asleep
(surprised by my own skin, the way it
holds the light). Darkness
is a diamond I can polish.

My mother writes, when evil thoughts fly over
our heads, we keep them
from building a nest in our minds
.
Remembered the fallen bird I saved
one spring. His hunger.
Mornings, I grubbed for worms
in mud. He died calling me.

V
Friday. Dear Mother, I hope you are feeling well.
I help Aunt Lucalle all I can. School is closed
this week. Uncle Huggins and Aunt Lucille are very
kind to me. I read Evelina and found it elevating
and well-done. I am keeping busy. Love.

VI
Saturday. I lifted a stone.
Red ants ran feverishly
north, south, a whole
city disturbed.

VII
Sunday. Aunt Lucille and Uncle Hug hardly move
their lips over the hymns. I mouth
the words, but don't
sing. My new dress from Aunt Lucille's
pattern, very constricting.
There is a fountain
filled with blood flows from
Emanuel's veins. The saints are flecked with it.
The angels wear nightgowns and sing
drowsy music. Heaven should be pale.

VIII
Monday. On the way to school
I found Indian paint rock
in the valley under the pines.
Once we painted hoops of fire
round our eyes. We said,
Indian paint, Indian paint,
crack open the clinker
. We'd spit
on our fingers and dip them
in the metallic dust inside,
wheat, rust, pale carrot,
and indigo. Coming home,
I passed the MacKeithan's new lot
and watched clouds building
through the skeleton
of a new house.


Prairie Schooner, Vol. 61, No. 3 (Fall 1987), pp. 114-117