My brother Joe names me princess
the day we hold the hula hoop contest.
He sits me on the kitchen stool
in the center of the cement slab,
foundation for our parent’s future study.
Barb’s job is to dress me up
in a pale blue chiffon dress
taken out of the dress-up box,
place a pop-bead necklace around my neck,
hand me a wand to touch
the shoulders of the winners.
Watching from the vinyl-covered throne
as neighborhood girls whirl their hoops
below on the patio, count the number
of times around their waists and necks,
arms and knees that the hoops spin,
I can’t stand to watch them laughing anymore.
I fly into the house, rip off the dress,
pull on pedal pushers and tee-shirt,
rush back outside to spin a hoop,
still wearing anklet socks and plastic
high heels held on with elastic bands.
© by Margaret Towner.
Used with the author's permission.