Steve Meador is the author of Throwing Percy from the Cherry Tree, a poetry book that was an entrant for a National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize in poetry. He is widely published in online and print journals. He has been a real estate broker since the early 1980s and currently lives and practices in the Tampa, FL, area.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Mammy, Summer 1959


For a short time we had a maid. Her mornings
were spent in front of the Philco exercising
with Jack Lalanne and throwing low-spoken bids
at The Price is Right. Meanwhile, laundry collected
sharp wrinkles and dust bred families of its own.

We called her Mammy. Maybe not even twenty,
she could have been the model for the Aunt Jemima
bottle.  Her favorite snack was the fluffy ice scraped
from inside the freezer, formed into a snowball
and topped with a ragged piece of raw bacon.

I rode with my father to take her home, bouncing
over an unpaved lane to a long row of clapboard
shacks held together by the heavy stink of marsh.
All needed painted, all had rockers on the porch,
the steps of one loaded with beer-drinking men.

She came to the Studebaker’s back window
and patted my head. As the red powder and grit flipped
from the heels of her sandals I thought of the men,
and how the clink of bottles and bursts of sound
were not unlike the busy porch at our little white house.

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