Hometown Glory. by Lauren Yates

My father was a soldier too skinny for his frame.
His wife lived in North Carolina. She has a young
name. My mother has an old name.

She still runs into friends from high school.
From her trench of a driver’s seat, she laughs
at the ones who got fat. She wonders
when she gets to leave for war.

When I was a baby, my sitter was in her eighties.
I used to wonder what would happen if she died
watching me, but she lived to see one hundred.

I’ve always hated cheese sandwiches.
Mom would stack Kraft slices between potato bread.
The couples on TV use frozen bread,
the cheese still wrapped in plastic.

When my grandmother cried wolf between
phone calls and Oprah, my grandfather reached
for his belt. He wore it beneath his belly, swollen
with scar tissue and swallowed pride.

No one would help me pitch a tent in my dining
room. I screamed from inside my deflated palace.
My grandfather struck me with his belt then said,
“I’m sorry.”

When I asked my mother for an apology, she said,
“I’m sorry you think you deserve one.”
She reprimands the voices, confuses them
with my face, the worst synesthesia.

Lauren Yates is a Pushcart-nominated poet who is currently based in Philadelphia. Her writing has appeared in Nerve, XOJane, FRiGG, Umbrella Factory, Softblow, and Melusine. Lauren is also a poetry editor at Kinfolks Quarterly and a member of The Mission Statement poetry collective. She is currently a Poet in Residence with the Leonard Pearlstein Gallery at Drexel University. Aside from poetry, Lauren enjoys belly dancing, baking quiche, and pontificating on the merits of tentacle erotica. For more information, visit http://laurentyates.com.