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Those Smiths    
 
My mother’s mother never squeezed
wet bowl-softened
Soap
and watched it curl up cool and clean and
pretty
through her fisted fingers
 
I was only eight . . . and Learning
and didn’t know what I did
when I squeezed away at that precious
Soap!
 
All those poor little children
on the other side of the world
don’t have any . . . any . . . any
    . . . and O Child,
you’re here wasting it!
 
I was only eight and . . . Guilty
How could I have known how Grandpa’s mother
had caviled on
about Those Smiths!
when Grandpa married one of ’em
 . . . so poor
they can’t even afford to buy
Soap!
to wash their clothes in . . . 
 
    . . . and O Child,
you’re here wasting . . . wasting . . . wasting
 
Carolyne Butler
(Copyright © 2000)