By Amy Reece
Dear Jacqueline, May I call you Jacqueline? Or would you prefer, Ms. Woodson? Either way, I find myself enchanted by your verse flowing into novels about a life I never lived Although our years align. I hear my father saying, You stay away from them. I hear my mother saying, We don’t let those kind on our beach. I hear my grandmother saying, Boy, oh Boy, you’ve missed the Japanese beetle on my favorite rose. Somehow ashamed, I watch the ancient, raisened gardener tipping cap and hobbling near to pluck offending bugs from haughty flowers. Yet, when my family are off playing golf tennis lunch at the club and cocktails, always cocktails I imagine my fingers twined beneath hot sand through delicious brown fingers of the boy my age who works raking stones from the sand. Who smiles shyly from beneath a faded Red Sox cap, watching Me. Standing, I stretch my thirteen year old body tall to fill my sagging swimsuit. And walk away, glancing back over sun-red shoulders to see him following Me Towards the town beach we call Inkwell. A name given to a place where black children are free to run laughing and gasping into the crisp Atlantic while doting parents escape hot summer rays under striped umbrellas sipping cool drinks through bright straws. Where my mother’s friends don’t sit in rows of knitting and gossip, courtroom jurys ready to scream out verdicts of Guilty At me. Suddenly, he’s beside me. Together we run, knees high, through crystal-blue waves, To where hermit crabs and blowfish and starfish mingle in freedom. Dripping rivulets of salty sea we lie on our backs side by side, towels stretched close. Hands dig into sand fingers touch, hesitant at first. There is no color under sand, just one hot palm pressed against Another. There is no Me. A song of heat, closed eyes. bodies rigid with the newness of hand exploring hand. Breath quick, heart quicker, Until we feel a shadow fall; hear a throat clear. Opening my eyes I see the disapproving shake of someone’s mama’s head, dark hands on broad hips. Boy! Boy! Watcha doin’ boy? Now, girl, you get on back With your own kind And leave my boy alone. Staring down at Me. Face, shame-hot, I leap and run towards my own kind. Glancing back, I see still seated on his towel brown knees hugged close, ebony eyes following Me. Somehow, I know tomorrow there will be a different boy to rake the sand. My heart sobs for Us. So you see, Jacqueline, our lives carry some parallel sorrows Thank you for your verse, Thank you for your prose. Love, Amy
Amy Reece was born on a stormy March night in upstate New York. She grew up strong and creative with her three athletic brothers who teased her into being the person she is today. While teaching therapeutic riding, elementary school English, and ending her career in a high school therapeutic classroom, Amy earned her masters in special education and an MFA in creative writing. She has one published novel and is working on her next one while taking breaks to write Children’s Books.
Amy’s home with her husband Doug on Martha’s Vineyard Island is the perfect spot for living the author’s life and making her writing dreams come true.