Momma said be quiet kids, he’s coming
up the street he’s wobbling, I could feel
her trembling in my soul as I held her
hand and felt the sweat on her palm,
knowing how worried and scared she
is about him coming up those stairs,
drunk and abusive with words.
Before he had the chance, she glanced
one more time through the peeking
curtains and said let’s get out of here
kids were on the run, let’s leave through
the back door.
Five kids in tow, holding on to momma’s
apron, she was carrying little Joe and the
rest of us were on our toes beside her crying,
momma why are we leaving again, as she
opened up the back shed door grabbing
our coats along the run, all half walked,
and ran to keep up with each other scraping
our knees from splinters rubbed off from
the old shed.
Out into the alleyway, winds blowing, half
dressed momma would have us run along
her side as she wept, and shook from the
cold trying to hail a cab to get us out
of the cold.
She finally did, and we all packed in
like sardines in an oiled can, shivering with
cold and frost-bitten toes, you see some of
us didn’t have time to find our boots, so
we ran out in our socks and frozen, they
were right to the tips of our toes.
Uptown we went to auntie’s house with
her seven cats and Jehovah Witness books,
and magazines strewn about the shelfs in
her living room, and on the end tables,
for you see she was a gentle old soul and
cared for her drunken man who meant
no harm just hid his Vodka bottles
under their bed.
Uncle took care of the Lincoln Hotel,
and once took me there for a visit in his
drunken haze and showed how the old
dumb-waiter worked and let me ring
the elevator bell while he closed the
gate and cranked the handle that took
us up to the 13th floor to visit old
Mrs. Dell who gave me jellybeans
brightly colored they were.
Our sleeping arrangements were
every kid for themselves, we would
all lay on the living room floor, six
of us strewn about and covered with
blankets and tablecloths, and made up
pillows from knitting wool piles aunt
Nina kept in a cedar chest hidden in
her bedroom boudoir behind a
At night in the silence of the room
us kids would whisper to each other
such frightful stories, to see who could
be the scariest that night, and take turns
scratching each others back with
promises to “if you do mine I will do
yours” and often I would get mine done
and roll over to sleep, and they
would call me Mr. Cheap.
The phone would ring with pleas from
her man this beast monster we all hated,
and would hear her crying on the phone,
knowing that he was begging for us to
come home ,she would relent and cave
in and say to us children we are going
back he said he will change and misses
us all and to give him another chance
Kissing Auntie and Uncle Goodbye,
the six of us would take that ride back
to the Hell from wench we came knowing
very well we would all pay for having left
the house of Usher and his chains.
© Copyright Vincent Moore 2012. All Rights Reserved.