by Joan Reese

Be afraid, be very afraid!
Dressed in black,
Leather strap hung from leather belt.
If that didn’t scare you,
Guaranteed, You will be scared by the end of the day.

First day of Catholic school, Sister MaryMarie,
Held a jar of red pepper and lava soap.
“Misbehave, this is what you get!
Sit up straight! Fold your hands or get my ruler
Cracked over your knuckles.”

Screams, loud, from the bathroom.
Boys got the strap a lot.
Boogey, a classmate, ate his boogies or flung them at girls
Who made fun of him.
Boogies special talent: he could fart on command.

Sister MaryMarie wrote on the blackboard, her back to us.
Our class egged Boogie on.
Boogie’s butt exploded.
The room smelled of cabbage
His favorite dish his Polish mother cooked.

“Sister MaryMarie turned, Who did that!”
We shrugged, as we lowered our eyes.
We never ratted out Boogie.

We didn’t mind suffering the smell.
After all, most of our fathers thought it was funny
If they farted at the dinner table.
I must admit I never farted in front of anyone.

At the church dance, I slow danced
With Jackie Carr, my first crush.
Gas from dinner beans tried to slip out.
I held it in while trying to dance to “It’s A Man’s World.”

That was the day I decided to stay single.
Holding in my farts, if I married, seemed too difficult!
I ask married women what do you do, if you have gas?
One woman laughing said, “I just let it rip.”

It is on my bucket list to spend time with a boyfriend:
Feel free enough to let nature take its course.