November 22, 1963

President Kennedy has been shot. I am in kindergarten, but they close school early and send us home. My mother is coming to meet me, and I see her a short distance ahead in the road. She is wearing a pale pink shirtdress. Her coat, hastily pulled around her shoulders, is unbuttoned even though the day is damp and raw. She is crying as she walks toward me. Tears roll down her cheeks making long grey tracks in her make-up. She wears no lipstick, or perhaps she has worn it all off by pressing her lips in grief. Suddenly the sky above us seems too large and pale, as if all color has bled away, as if we could fall up into it. As if gravity, too, might fail us. She cups her hand around my shoulder, and we walk unsteadily home.

—Excerpt from down they forgot, forthcoming from Lilith House Press in 2021.

3 thoughts on “November 22, 1963

  1. Beautiful descriptive words that hold the feelings of that day. I was three and we were living in Salem, Oregon. I was at the laundromat with my mother and baby sister. I barely remember that day, but there is an echo in there. I anticipate savoring more of your words in your memoir soon!

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  2. “The sky too large . . . fall up into it.” Oh my. What might it be telling us when people, young and old, remember that one particular day with poetic clarity, vividness or even echoes? I was in gym class, wearing a swimming cap with a strap under my chin that secured the cap and buckled on one side. I can still feel the strap. Eager for your book.

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