I heard you joined the Women’s Guild at the church
when I was five so you could escape motherhood
and housework for a couple of hours each week.
It must have felt like a radical act—sipping tea
and planning social events on Shirley Dixon’s patio
on California Street, only two blocks from our house.
Dad in a rage when you didn’t come home, as if
the threadbare walls would unspool without you,
dishes piled in the sink, “kids running wild,”
although really we were fine, plopped in front of the TV.
You were sipping wine with your new best friend,
your laughter rising among geraniums and arborvitae.
Just you two, after the ladies left, tossing them back,
forgetting the time. I can imagine dad’s crimson face
the moment you stepped through the door humming,
happy to return after a taste of kindness and sky,
ignoring his glare, straightening as you sauntered
with a charming smile toward the kitchen.