Francine Witte

That was the year I was born and the year I died.

My parents, depression-tired in their peely apartment, 5 flights up and still, they couldn't pay the rent.  

My crib was an apple crate on the kitchen floor.  One morning, my mother picked me up and shook me and shook me like a dead, dry melon.  Get someone!  my mother screamed.     

Too late.  I was already floating in the air right above her head.  Just six months I was.  

My father didn't bother.  Robert Johnson on the radio, Hitler pregnant with war.  And where was Amelia Earhart? I didn't know my father long, but he seemed to care more about the things that weren't me.

I remember when I was 2 months old, my father on a drunken night, his anger a snake, a hissing sound, asking my mother why she trapped him like this.

A child can only hear so much.  Was this the life I was going to have? So I prayed and prayed to turn back into energy.

This year, I would have been 70.  Grandkids and a birthday cake.  My horrible, snaky father coiled in a tiny basket way in the back of my head.  

First published: August, 2007
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