Lydia Copeland

On the field the cannon booms made you cry. Mother held you in her lap. We were salty and warm. Father was a Confederate drummer. Re-enacting. He didn't care for the little hat that came with the wool suit. The wool suit in summer was a bit much too. All his drummers had perfect posture. Their drum rolls were a single machine. We had watched them line up on Tuesday nights in the Lincoln Museum, practicing rim shots while their girlfriends drank Nestea and leaned against the sheetrock. Our mother was playing the part too, dressed in blue with a hoop skirt and a wig of dark curls. She called them banana curls. I was angry because you were allowed to curse and I was not. He doesn't know any better, mother had said. And you do. I told her I didn't really know what fucky meant. In the car you stared out the window saying, fucky fried chicken, until I cried. In the winter, we drove over the mountain to buy groceries and fondle plastic Christmas trees and skate around in laundry baskets breathing hot air. Sometimes we had dinner at Taco Casa in the mall. We'd listen to our parents speaking. There would be less money in our future. Less trips to town. A change in routine. More cold weather, which meant baths before dinner to keep warm. Our father held a stack of napkins, always careful with his mustache. Our mother was still pretty in her own hair.