Rets

The children pick
the peeling yellow
paint from the bathroom
pipes and lick it
while Mama is gabbing
on the phone with
her sister. Papa returns
from work at four
and takes the yellow
plastic strap out of
the second dresser
drawer and whips
their thighs since
Mama has delegated
punishment for their
transgressions
during the day:
failure to put toys
away promptly,
picking at sausages
at lunch, plucking
the neighbor’s
lilies-of-the-valley
on their walk
to Jewel.

Tomorrow they’ll go
to Headstart and tell
the teacher the first
thing in the morning
they see is rets and
she’ll inquire, “Is
rets your dog?”

 

Jan Ball has had 285 poems published or accepted in journals across the globe in the Atlanta Review, Calyx, Connecticut Review, Main Street Rag, Phoebe, and Verse Wisconsin. Her two chapbooks and first full length poetry book, I Wanted To Dance With My Father, were published by Finishing Line Press. When not writing, Jan likes to work in the garden at her farm and work out in Chicago at FFC with her personal trainer. She and her husband travel a lot but like to cook for friends when they are home.