Because I said so

In the brown days of the Dust Bowl

a family without a home moved into the garage

of a house across the street and they had a daughter.


A girl to play with in the neighborhood!

No more rejection from the boys’ pickup

baseball game in the vacant lot or

being made to play “nurse”

while they played war.


So I crossed the street to make friends,

admiring her neat cornrow braids

with the small red bows.


I took my paper dolls and we sat

on the bare floor and played.


Excited, I told my mother all about it.

She said I couldn’t go back, couldn’t play with her.




“Why?”


“Because I said so.”


Janet Taliaferro


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© 2021 by Janet Taliaferro