When I Was Six

Rose-Covered Glasses, Margaret Wright

TW: Childhood Trauma

When I was six, my mother made an elegy

out of stitched pictures punctured

straight through the cork board

in our front hallway hanging

beneath the sign that read

“For I Know The Plans I Have for You 

Declares the Lord.”

I asked my mother if those “plans”

had anything to do with why the neighbor

lost his mind to alzheimers

or why the cherry tree we planted outside

our house could poison humans but not 

animals and she said she didn’t know.

Or maybe it was “Lord only knows.”

At Sunday School I asked my youth pastor

the same questions: “how is it that our physical 

bodies can choose to give out on us and who 

decides how many cherries kill humans 

because I had three and my lungs are still 

pumping.” He said God delivers all his children 

from darkness into light.

I then asked God my bigger questions:

why do some people get to forget?

how come the cherries didn’t poison me?

will you punish the three older kids who 

told me I was a pussy if I didn’t strip 

down and play along with them?

will You still let me into heaven?

1 Corinthians 6:9-10 “Do you not know

that the unrighteous will not inherit

the kingdom of God?” but I was six

and there was already a little girl hiding

behind the white door of the basement 

closet when I realized how dirty my bare

body looked in the dimmed basement lighting.

Sunday School teaches you that sexual immorality

is not of God but they don’t tell you

when you’re six how to make more room

in the hallway closet or that sometimes

your elders are more corrupt than you so

you probably shouldn’t listen to them when

they say just pretend it’s a dream.

Instead, you find out through newspaper

headings that:“Local Youth Pastor

Cheated on Pregnant Wife” and you can’t help

but thank God because when you’re six it’s

nice to know that cherry trees and alzheimers

don’t kill as quickly as putting faith in the wrong


About the Author

Payton Emond · Lewis University

Payton Emond is an emerging young poet who grew up in the Northwest suburbs of Chicago. She graduated from Lewis University as a 4-year student athlete with a degree in Professional Writing and a minor in Organizational Communications. Emond also worked as a poetry editor for Lewis Universities literary journal, Jet Fuel Review, which received a Pinnacle award from the College Media Association for “Literary Magazine of the Year.” Her work appears in UIW’s Quirk and Windows Fine Arts Magazine. This piece first appeared in Windows Fine Arts Magazine. 

About the Artist

Margaret Wright · Christian Brothers University

Margaret Wright is a Visual Arts major at Christian Brothers University with a concentration in Graphic Design. Although she loves and studies design, Margaret has a soft spot for experimental and traditional art mediums. She hails from Memphis, TN and has had a passion for painting, crafting, and writing from a very young age. Wright finds nature and people as the inspiration for many of her works. This piece first appeared in Castings. 

No Comments

Leave a Reply