Greasy Hand Prints by Alexzan Burton

Posted: August 2, 2015 in Uncategorized

When I was a little girl,  I wanted to be a princess.
I thought it was an occupation I could maintain with
my daddy’s greasy hand prints on my sides and hair so unruly,
it couldn’t be combed, just tousled by the uncles,
my grandfather telling me
“get out of the garage, you belong in the kitchen”
and it broke my heart because I never
wanted to be a boy, I just wanted to be with he and my father.

In my family, the women cook, the men are served first.
We would eat fast to clear the table as soon as they were finished and
I still think that’s how it should be. My grandfather
and father taught me what was a good man.
My grandmother taught me how to take care of one and
my mother made sure I understood that I didn’t have to.

My other grandfather, at bedtime, he would
say to me
“see ya in the funny papers”
and I always thought he meant obituaries.
Nothing really funny about that except when
some middle-aged housewife dies from
all of her favorite habits, catching up to her at once and
they bury her in her favorite pair of my
pinstripe pants, hair bottle bleach
blonde and fading tattoos and raspy laugh.
Smiling from a long time ago in her photo.

The funny papers.

I would try my hardest to smooth the rat’s nest curls just
in case I needed a good picture in the morning and
now every time I fall asleep, I have to accept that I
probably won’t wake up and
if Grandpa were still alive, he probably wouldn’t love me
like he used to and I just
wanted to be a princess with my daddy’s greasy hand prints
keeping me from falling apart.
Alexzan Burton is a gypsy. Writing provides a sense of permanence, especially when she can use the same notebook.


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