Sidewalks of webs and weeds
Run parallel to empy lots where foul deeds
By handkerchief heads and winos were played,
To that old house where we stayed.
Irma Jean, Cora Jean and I, three debs,
Against the cracks of weeds and webs.
Sitting through matinees, dodging chores,
Chewing gum; claiming boys were bores.
But secretly grooming hair and breasts;
Jennie’s brood, a female nest.
Irma, long-legged, delicious full lips,
Taught Cora and me to wiggle our hips.
George Darlington Love, a beau, my first;
They yelled his name like a tribal curse
As his virginal fingers pressed our bell.
Against that background of sights and smells,
We ignored switchblades, zip guns, and knees
Shattered by cops in that place without trees.
Now memories of dances are sprinkled like seeds
Among cousins and sidewalks of webs and weeds.
Colleen J. McElroy, “Webs and Weeds” from What Madness Brought Me Here: New and Selected Poems, 1968-1988. Copyright © 1990 by Colleen J. McElroy. Reprinted by permission of Wesleyan University Press.
Source: What Madness Brought Me Here: New and Selected Poems 1968-1988
(Wesleyan University Press, 1990)