by Susan Jensen Sweeting
I remember sitting with the girls at the store, waiting, waiting
like so much fresh fish
for the customers of the day to bring their demands.
The girls would sit
relaxed and non-chalant
leaning on one hip
right knee slung over left
arms crossed at the elbows.
They would lounge so
not unlike splendid iguanas
basking on rocks,
their slow lazy speech
recounting buoyant weekends.
Even their most mundane pursuits sounded animated
I remember that among us I was the thorn,
plain and unadorned in my
utilitarian khakis and sensible shoes.
No coordinated pantsuit or dress for me.
I stood out in my ordinariness
The simple patch of green grass
amidst the plots of roses and tulips
I remember those roses of women
each a finely groomed example
gold earrings and contact lenses
painted lips and ropes of gold,
silk floral prints, pleated trousers,
complete with decorative falsie on the big one.
Outer trappings said nothing of the insides.
I remember the nails.
Long claws attached with super glue
sanded to perfection
artfully painted with intricate fluorescent
I remember the nails rendering the hands useless,
disempowering their hosts to peel an orange.
Dolefully, the girls would eye the orange,
hopeless on the counter.
Their vanity overpowering their longing perhaps.
I remember peeling oranges so the disempowered hosts could eat.
My unencumbered fingers tearing skin from delicious fruit.
Susan Jensen Sweeting
Susan Jensen Sweeting is currently working on her first novel. She’s the wife of an aquaponic farmer and the mother of two bona fide adults, but she’s also a massage therapist, an artist, a Scottish fiddler, and an intrepid traveler living in Freeport, Bahamas. She holds a BA in Creative Writing from Antioch University.