Magazine article The Antioch Review

Children II

Magazine article The Antioch Review

Children II

Article excerpt

I remember the flowers of my childhood as thoroughly as others do first Catechisms: the Peonies, in bloom and patient, layer after layer of petals laced with aphids. Lilac and Lilies. Those sky-cast Hydrangea - a fleece-mirror of real sky above me and Hyacinth: each waxy-floret maudlin as a swathe of ornate icing. Neighbor children,

gathering on their porch steps, shrank from flowers, reluctant to prod the cool, powdery soil with any dimestore spade or hoe or shovel: The Devil, they said, the Devil sneaks up through these tended lawns to snatch us from our girlhood games. They wanted

to be nuns. Such little girls, daydreaming over God, a "place" beside this house: this street: this earth: now so charmed and green - just like something in a bedtime story - that one of FLICKA RICKA AND DICKA - identical little sisters whose story falls open on a meadow paled

by Buttercups and Dandelion, some Daisies, nodding in the grass there, where the cloud shapes soften and go warm until the complete sky looks drawn of milk while FLICKA RICKA AND DICKA fly O so high: their glistening aluminum swings stung with lemon-melting light: FLICKA RICKA AND DICKA fly silver, and the polka dots on their crisp-little-A-line shifts blur like stray milkweed before them. …

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