“The Fifties” by Barbara Crooker

Barbara Crooker


We spent those stifling endless summer afternoons
on hot front porches, cutting paper dolls from Sears
catalogs, making up our own ideal families
complete with large appliances
and an all-occasion wardrobe with fold-down
paper tabs.
Sometimes we left crayons on the cement
landing, just to watch them melt.
We followed the shade around the house.
Time was a jarful of pennies, too hot
to spend, stretching long and sticky,
a brick of Bonomo’s Turkish Taffy.
Tomorrow’d be more of the same,
ending with softball or kickball,
then hide and seek in the mosquitoey dark.
Fireflies, like connect-the-dots or find-the-hidden-
words, rose and glowed, winked on and off,
their cool fires coded signals
of longing and love
that we would one day
learn to speak.

from Rattle #16, Winter 2001


Barbara Crooker: “I am a ‘real Fifties girl,’ as the little girl next door said when ‘Happy Days’ aired. I live in rural Northeastern Pennsylvania, where I garden with no help from the deer, groundhogs, and rabbits who think it’s their produce section.” (web)

Rattle Logo