Crab Orchard Review: Volume 24, No 2

Page 66

Joshua Corson Mrs. Corson’s Classroom - Room 205 Momma, those sweet potatoes I ate last night made me think of you and your momma—Thanksgiving’s green beans boiled with ham hock, stuffing steamed in the bird’s belly—the recipes written in blue ink on an index card you keep in your nightstand—and even though I complimented Chef Betty on her pork-chops-apple-sauceasparagus-and-cheesecake, her eyes like little black eyed peas swallowed in her smiling cheeks, in my head, I was thinking they weren’t as good as yours or your momma’s sweet potatoes—the way y’all coaxed vegetables into my mouth with brown sugar and butter—but if they were as good or better, what you don’t know won’t hurt—remember 5th grade? you were just trying to teach our class how to grow crystals on popsicle sticks but I didn’t quite understand how it worked. I just wanted to write love poems to Marissa with language thick as the corn syrup you used in the candied yams—so I goofed off with Jimmy and Michael and broke beakers until you made me stand out in the hallway—the smell of the boys bathroom so soaked in shit and lemon disinfectant I thought I’d pass out— I guess you thought if you sent me to the principal’s office it was partly your responsibility if I was written up, cause what you don’t know won’t hurt—then I turned 19—flunked out of college cause I don’t know nothing about science or crystals or caves or sitting still in class—all I knew was that I hated Alabama, and Georgia and Florida and North Carolina—so instead of studying index cards like we practiced on the couches in the dining room, the ones I wasn’t allowed to play or sit or stand on—only dust every Sunday with lemon pledge— I snorted Xanax-Oxycontin-Percocet-and-Vicodin, pretending I was the pharmacist your momma wanted you to be—she had it all laid out—and when I’d call, begging every couple of weeks, I’d tell you the money was for groceries, and could you tell me how to make a southern meal for my girlfriend? I knew you’d never confront me, suddenly responsible for my problem—but mommas don’t go to those lengths to turn



Crab Orchard Review