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A Quarterly Journal
Jeffrey Woodward, Founder & General Editor
Volume 9, Number 1, March 2015


Rita Hooks
St. Petersburg, Florida, USA


Every Saturday when our father locks us out of the house, we play in the tool shed among brown bottles of poison for the rose garden and old rusty blades from the mower. With brittle remnants of old cloth, we play dress-up, becoming the nuns who teach us, the nuns we love like the lusty tomboys we are. And then we play outside, tossing rotten apples over the tool shed and at each other. The brown apples squish in our hands. We are dirty girls; our clothes are stained with the vinegar scent of rotten apples.

The apple tree grows close to the back of the tool shed. We climb it to get to the roof. We know we are forbidden to jump off. We stare up at our parents' bedroom window. The shade is pulled all the way down.

nine girls no boys
that missing bit
of man thing

We get bored, then tired, then hungry, then cold. We climb down and beat on the back door, crying, "Please let us in. We have to go to the bathroom."

We keep up the racket until the door opens a crack and our father's hand appears, holding an old battered saucepan. Our eldest sister takes the pan, and we all trudge back to the tool shed.



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