Loire Valley, 1963

My mother is young, no more than six,
poised on the front steps;
a parcel of magic carefully wrapped in cotton underwear and polka dots.

My mother is young, a bit impatient;
pulling at the curl of her golden hair,
bobbed and smart, tender at the curve of her ear.

My mother is lonely, she wishes she could grow a tail,
comme son chat, Monsieur Noir.

Her patent leather Mary Janes would be garden beetles,
fat and shiny in the damp earth.

My mother would chase them scuttling across the flower beds.
Follow them like Alice, down a rabbit hole,
at the garden’s edge.