Gold Stars 

By Rachel Contreni Flynn 

It was forbidden to touch

the Hummels in my aunt’s pretty house,

arranged just so and shut

in the glass cabinet, pigeon-toed,

rosy-faced, holding kittens or balloons,

their porcelain bellies bulging

under pinafores and overalls … 

and it was wrong to kiss

the high-school janitor after track practice

against the concrete wall

in the band room vestibule

where a fake velvet blanket draped

the old upright piano,

and a long row of trombones tilted

in their shiny black cases … 

but these

were the gold stars I gave myself

when I thought no one was watching

and nothing would get broken,

and I was brilliant: easing 

the little brass latches

and reaching in. 

 

Take Heart: A Conversation in Poetry is produced in collaboration with the Maine Writers & Publishers Alliance. Poem copyright © 2005 Rachel Contreni Flynn. Reprinted from “Ice, Mouth, Song,” Tupelo Press, 2005, by permission of Rachel Contreni Flynn. Questions about submitting to Take Heart may be directed to Gibson Fay-LeBlanc, special consultant to the Maine Poet Laureate, at [email protected] or 228-8263. “Take Heart: Poems from Maine,” an anthology collecting the first two years of this column, is now available from Down East Books.


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.