Beth Camp Historical Fiction

Monday, October 07, 2013

October 7: Momma said . . .

Momma said, "Sleep tight.
Don't let the bed bugs bite."
So we snuggled down under the covers,
Cathy was four; I was five.
Strange motel bed in a nameless town,
until something fell
on the bed
in the night
and then another something.
My sister screamed.

We went running into the night,
looking for Momma.
Cars with red lights came,
I remember people talking:
"Who would leave
two little girls . . ."
and Momma was there,
her face white, talkin' fast,
"I just went out for cigarettes, officer,"
she said, and we was crying and crying.

Then it was quiet,
and we all slept together
in that motel bed.
Momma said bugs don't bite.
We left in the morning,
our old Hudson clunking smoke.
I don't remember where we went.
Daddy wasn't with us anymore
or ever again.
I still don't like bugs in the house,
and Momma's long gone,
Sissy too.

Today's OctPoWriMo (a poem a day for October) asks us to write a narrative poem, to tell a story. This is the earliest story I know. I found this picture on Flickr, and it reminds me of that hotel so long ago.

Las Palmas Motor Court (Flickr)
Creative Commons


  1. Wow, this is so powerful. I love how you pack so much into such a short tale. Really beautiful, as usual.

  2. Oh man oh man oh man. I am in this beyond words place. We are so blessed to have you here, writing poems with us, Beth.

  3. Full of emotion and power, Beth. Thank you so much. xoA

  4. Wow. Gut-wrenching, vulnerable, and deeply personal. Thank you for being open enough and brave enough to take us there.

  5. This put me there. Emotional and tense.

  6. An incredible poem/story Beth. Unpacking emotion is king... you do it so well. X

  7. Sometimes I read a poem, and it is so deep, so wrenching, that there really are no words to express what is felt. Thank you Beth.