Hello, It’s Me

On the day that Mama Cass died, Dad and I drove
along the curves of Brush Creek Road, past
the Snowmass Rodeo grounds, my hair
waving out the backseat window to the horses’
mimicking manes, then almost to Highway 82
and the “mushroom house,” its beige limestone
and weird shape like a barnacle attached
to a mountain (if that could be a thing). We needed
more model glue, the Porsche 911’s
“whale tail” depleting our original supply
and leaving our fingers dark and caked
from the newspaper print lining
its eighty-seven parts. I loved going to Carl’s
Pharmacy, not just for its shelves of Sea & Ski
suntan lotion, the many postcard spinners,
or because we’d almost always leave with ice
cream—mint chocolate for Dad, rocky road
in a sugar cone for me—but for all the flags
hung high near the store’s staircase: I could
twirl below and watch them wave each time
someone opened the shop door, though that July
day, the flags seemed stiller. I still positioned
myself under their colors, wanting to dance
with them, but listening to customers and staff’s
hushed voices—She was too young. Who knew you
could asphyxiate on a ham sandwich?
—I adhered
to dad’s side, waiting for him to pay, kind of
knowing she wouldn’t be funny
on Hollywood Squares again.

With his sunglasses already on, he ushered
me outside, around to the pharmacy’s open ice
cream window, where we waited for treats
while Todd Rundgren’s repeating
“think of mes”
bled from the indoors.

Amy Lerman was born and raised on Miami Beach, moved to the Midwest for many years, and now lives with her husband and very spoiled cats in the Arizona desert, where she is residential English Faculty at Mesa Community College. She received her Master’s and Ph.D. in American Literature from the University of Kansas, and her poems have appeared in Rattle, Smartish Pace, Common Ground Review, Prime Number Magazine, Solstice, and other publications.

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