HomeSouthern VoiceCalled to the Kitchen

Called to the Kitchen

by Tracy Lynn Darling 

She visited once
every two, three months
no particular timing she’d stay all day
and we found none of this
peculiar in any way
our ways
she’d visit and that meant talk with our mama
and we’d play and that meant find something in common
with her children no particular thing in common we found
except our mamas talking ‘til a certain lull in the conversation
meant it was time for her to call one of us
three girls one at a time
sat on the wooden chair in the kitchen the floor linoleum
towel draped ‘round our necks
we held on tight with clenched hands
she held on tight to her scissors
her fingers raking smelled like smoke wafting through our hair
though she knew not to smoke in the house
she never asked until she asked us what we wanted
and we all three of us girls we all wanted the same thing
not too much, just a trim, always just a trim
and we wanted to grow out, no wanted to cut back
the bangs this time
could never make up our minds they changed every time
like the styles changed we changed, grew older our needs and we asked her
all three of us girls asked do you know how to do this something new
and we don’t know what it’s called but do you know something different
and what we’re talkin’ about is nothing we’ve seen around here
we read in a magazine
and we for the most part got what we asked for
and we never asked for much
and mama got what she asked for
and for the most part she never asked for much
and we, not a one of us, found any of this our ways
in any way peculiar

Tracy Lynn Darling ditched the Southern accent on the side of the runway years ago, but, in her heart, she will always be a waitress in a Southern diner. She’s been hiding out in the suburbs of Southern California, cleverly disguised as a soccer mom with three child-actors in the back of her minivan. Her writing is influenced by the refrains of country music, the passion of religious sermons and the repetition and common-man language of political speeches. She is a proud graduate of the University of Virginia and removes the masking tape from her mouth from time to time to read her poetry in San Diego, Orange County, Los Angeles and Berkeley. She writes at the kitchen table, where every good Southerner knows all important business takes place.  

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