Another Country

by Fredda Jaffe

And who can question such conviction?
Jane Wong

I ironed my hair to look like the models in Seventeen Magazine, but wasn’t skinny enough.

Developers extracted trees from a coastal prairie to build row after row of houses on streets named Chestnut, Beech, Plum, Larch.

I stopped doing homework.

Arranged behind Waldbaum’s, a pharmacy and pay phone for making illicit calls, Ding Dong, a Chinese take-out, and Bambi, a bakery with doilies under every offering.

I began writing my first manifesto.

Our house had a breezeway, a two-car garage harboring a colony of wood
termites, and finished basement with linoleum tiles alternating brown,
gold and red, dark wood paneling, and a bathroom with a Moulin Rouge theme. Red windmills performed can-cans every three inches across the walls.

Someone burned an object on the French teacher’s lawn, the first black family.

Fruit bats arrived in crepuscular air to feast on mosquitoes.

My mother paid someone to punch out the window above the kitchen sink for a greenhouse. I would have done it for nothing.

Copyright 2016, Fredda Jaffe

Born and raised in New York City, Fredda Jaffe lives in Seattle and works as a family therapist. Her poems have traveled through Puget Sound on Metro buses, confronted racism, praised worms, and studied salmon-habitat restoration on the Skagit River.

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