- Lost and Turned Out
When we went food shopping, my mother wouldwear blue eye shadow and heels that click-clacked upand down grocery store aisles. Like Miss America wavingat each smiling admirer, she’d nod her head
and grin demurely while looking for Tide,while selecting cabbage, canned salmon, and greens,while flirting with the men in the deli;she had many male friends I could never call daddy.
On Sundays, when we were Jehovah’s Witnesses,she would never play Ray Goodman and Brownor the Whispers; she wouldn’t sing Olivia,one of her favorite Friday night songs,a song she said she hoped I’d never understand.
I thought it was a song about Red Riding Hood;I thought the most sinister wolves whowore sheep’s clothing hid shiny, soft coats beneathwool and their teeth were more for smiles than bites.My older sister came to understand that song.
On Fridays my mother would hum “break the chains /stop using your body and use your brain.” My older sisterwould come home late. She never shopped with usor prayed; I imagined she was Red Riding Hood, laughingwith wolves, baying at the moon, never wearingblue eye shadow and heels. [End Page 158]
Kateema Lee’s poetry has been published in print and in online literary journals. She is an associate editor for the Potomac Review and a Cave Canem graduate fellow. When she is not writing, she teaches English composition, literature, and women’s studies at Montgomery College in Maryland.