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Little Jessica

Little Jessica

I never raised
girls
like Baby Sister sitting next to me,
Lil Av grown with a girl and a boy of his own.
Both Lil Sis and I sit, fanning Florida heat
and insects
while we
gaze at football hurrah
spilling across a fenced field
before our shaded bleacher.
Both of us watching her
baby boy,
my nephew Trevor, play.
Nope, we never had a Jessica
though I have a grand,
a Little Laila Lou,
as her Auntie Glenda
sings whenever she comes around.
Mind you,
Glenda will re-name anyone, including
you, if you should choose to spend
an hour or two in our presence.
I am Too-Too
or Lil Tootie
or Tootsie
and Baby Sister is O My Pretty Girl
or Thee-Thee
or Thera
though she wants to be called Lil Sis
like our older sis
is Big Sis,
but I will answer to just about anything
as long as it isn’t
derogatory
which will be “calling me out of my
name,”
as Grandma might say
But Little Jessica does not
seem to mind
who calls her what
as she pops out of the crowd that
Saturday to strike up
a conversation about how well she can read and how pretty her nails would
look
if I painted them
same as I was painting
mine
A pixy, pretty and cordial, and decidedly
smart for a person
under six,
she has determined Lil Sis’ container of rainbow
enamel
is too much to overlook.
I see this and resolve not to
fan her like gnats,
So I invited her to please go
find her Mama and get her okay
before I paint her
teeny-tiny nails.
Later, Lil Sis and I aren’t
surprised
when
before long she’s back,
Mama, equally friendly and built like a sistah, in tow.
Together, they talked up
a small storm
and I paint
Jess and a few of her friends
before the heat and game end,
allowing me to close
the makeshift salon
I never realized I was opening when
I sat down and
engaged Lil Sis in conversation.
Though I never raised
girls,
same as Lil Sis and
Chicken,
our sister Bernadette.
I laugh with Lil Sis and realize
Bubba, my twin,
Glen and our Baby-Baby Sis
Katarina all have one girl each,
same as Lorenzo and Delton
have several.
My Mama knew what it was to have a house
of one boy and all things
sugar and spice
though all of it couldn’t have been
nice
considering the whippings I
caught.
Still
I wonder what a girl would have been—
a goddess
a bookworm
a tomboy
a siren
a terror
an Amazon—
had I
raised her?

(c) Claudia Moss 2/7/13

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