Letty and the Cold Hard Truth (1967)
I nearly lost my life several times as a child,
Mostly due to boredom.
Summers were long in the 1960’s.
Funds were low for one thing,
And mom didn’t drive.
Rosalie had long grown tired of my requests,
To allow me to spike the ball at her repeatedly in our front yard.
I was plagued by confinement,
being still too young to venture outside the neighborhood.
I stared at the roman numerals on our living room clock.
Mom ironed as The Guiding Light unveiled a new scandal.
Reluctantly, I grabbed my bike and headed up our street.
I pedaled past a boy named Mike and skidded to a stop.
Mike held something wonderful in his hands.
“What is THAT!” I beamed.
“Guinea pig” he said, then corrected himself and added ”longhaired”.
“I want him”, I said with surprising confidence.
“It’s a she, and her name is Cinnamon” said Mike walking away.
I followed after, leaving my bike ditched curbside.
Cinnamon was too much to behold.
A ball of soft sleek fur in a dazzling fawn hue.
“Where can I get one?” I demanded. “I have money”.
I envisioned stealing pocket change from my dad,
plus I knew mom’s secret place for stamp money.
I was driven to criminal acts for such a treasure.
As luck would have it, a mama guinea pig had a new litter,
And the fools were GIVING them away.
I chose mine swiftly, and named her Letty,
Because she was fond of lettuce.
Besides, all the cool names
Like Elvis or Paige had been taken.
Letty was my constant companion,
my bike and Barbies now exiled to the garage.
Sadly, Letty only lived for several months.
I was crushed.
My older brother, Richard found me lying on my bed,
Holding Letty gingerly and weeping like one who lost her best friend.
“If you like, I can do an autopsy” Richard offered kindly,
As my brother had some veterinary training.
“Noooooo”, I wailed. “No knife will pierce my darling Letty!”
I hid in my parent’s closet, consoling myself for a good long time.
Later I stole a fancy handkerchief from my folks’ dresser,
to wrap Letty’s lifeless body, then I buried her in our front yard.
Many weeks later pretty weeds and wildflowers sprung where Letty lay.
I was delighted, as this was surely a sign from God or the Blessed Mother!
My brother Felix however, stated it was because Letty’s rotting carcass,
Was actually marvelous fertilizer for the soil.
He had a good point.