Pale Peach, Harvest Gold
Childhood home, every room with shag carpet,
shocking shade of pink in my bedroom.
Red for my parents, though they were the least
red-bedroomy people you could know.
1972 house more bold than our family,
gold foil accents in the upstairs hall.
One bathroom sink chocolate brown, one shiny black–
complementing that, zebra stripe wallpaper.
Avocado stoves in neighbors’ houses,
but our stove, and our fridge, harvest gold.
Twenty years later, in therapy, memory surfaced–
a single photo hung on that old fridge.
My mom, gamely smiling
pale peach polyester shorts,
sleeveless matching striped shirt.
Did I ask, or did she tell me–
Why this photo, featuring only her?
It was her “fat photo,”
placed there to make her think twice
every time she opened the fridge.
It wouldn’t have occurred to me,
had my therapist not suggested–
Not the healthiest message
for a young hungry girl.
I earned my body hatred honestly,
polyester piping stretching down the front of each thigh.
My mom, like her mom, in overstretched pants.
I feared I was already doomed.
Now, it’s called ‘eating your feelings.’
What does it taste like, this shame,
forty-seven years older than that photo
on that harvest gold fridge.