by Sharyl Collin
Not Flora, the wrinkled, wheezing manager,
who hid in the shadows between trailers
while spying misguided children,
often betrayed by her hacking cough
as she collected evidence
to convict them of the crimes
they were born to commit,
nor Sheila, Flora’s tie-dye, hippie clad daughter,
at sixteen the mother of an active toddler,
who pierced my ears with needle and thread,
using clothespins for anesthetic,
while Donna, the neighborhood bully,
looked on from across the road
where she lived with her two mothers,
who were often watched through closed curtains
by the other moms, though they said
it was “okay,”
nor Pete, our broad, balding bus driver,
quick with a smile for the girls
while eyeing the boys with suspicion,
which proved limiting to my health
when he failed to notice Donna,
who crept forward from behind,
to rip the tiny hoops from my ears,
behind bouncing, happy Pete
who didn’t see it coming any more than I did,
nor Mrs. Buller, my third grade teacher
who saw me in the utilitarian terms that people will,
placing me in the corner next to Todd,
who drummed maniacally on our desks,
and on me, until we moved again,
nor my drunken, CB blasting
dumb-ass of a stepfather –
I can say it now, and yes, it feels good –
the first in an unfortunate series,
who moved us ten times in less than three years,
before chasing us out of the house with a knife,
then slitting his wrists
in front of the gawking neighbors,
none of these seemed to see
what was really going on,
except maybe Donna, who realized ahead of me
that no one was in charge.
Sharyl Collin wrote her first story at the age of seven from a trailer in a small border town in Southern California. When her principal read the story during an assembly, she was captivated by the power of writing. She recently began writing poetry and her first poem was published in Rubber Lemon. In addition to writing, she works in an emergency room and enjoys singing, photography, genealogy and bike rides up the coast with her husband. She lives in Torrance, California with her family and bouncing black lab, Sadie.
6 thoughts on “In the Park”
What a great collection of characters. In a few stanzas, I get not just the named residents of this trailer park, but the unnamed and otherwise-occupied adults who were players in this drama.
Get your shovel out, and start digging into that trailer-park. You have some rough jewels in that old trailer, in the park where all those characters come alive. Dig deeper, peer into all the windows of the trailers. Dust them off if you need to see them better. I want to read more about what happens in thepark. Write about those residents, you have me intrigued. I think the trailer-park is full of ideas just waiting for you to uncover. They are not soccer-moms, dads, or kids, they may not wear the latest thing from the new mall, but they are real people. I get them, and I bet a lot of other readers do as well. Keep writing.
I appreciate your kind comments. Annette, I’ve recently finished a chapbook, compliments of a childhood that had quite an eclectic cast of characters. And there are more waiting to be heard. I just need to figure out where to go with it. Thank you for your interest.
There is much to ponder when one reads “In the Park”. Very colorful character descriptions, leaving much more to the imagination of the reader. If one could peer under the roofs of many homes, it might be something like looking under a big rock. You’d maybe find some silver coins, and many bugs and dirt. It takes a lot of heart and a lot of courage to “get involved”, but there is no question that when your gut feeling tells you something is just not right here, we should take the risk. Great work Sharyl. More please.
I felt your words with depth as I read and it clearly defined the images vividly leaving me to want of more to come. Our memories are our treasures. It’s a gem.
If you have time please e-mail me more about your chapbook. I would love reading about it, and finding out how to obtain a copy. Maybe we can correspond more through e-mail. I’ll let you know about the books I am currently working on.