Purchase Issue 2

Purchase Issue 2


Pamela Sue Hitchcock


He was the boy in fifth grade
who slid down the slide

and sliced his thigh wide open
on a side bolt: Lee—

he lived in a trailer,
holes through the floor.

You could see to the ground.
His parents threw down rugs

in winter.
I went over there some.

He had a little cousin
born with one arm.

His mama would say don’t bring
that one-armed baby around

when we’re all trying to eat.
They’d leave it in the back at dinner.

Lee. He had thick glasses that made his eyes
look like house windows.

There was always a glare
on the lenses,

or something smeared.
The teacher paddled him every day

with a big blue oar.
He knew not to slide down sideways,

but he never listened.
The girls were all crying, the boys

arguing over what you call the insides
of a leg—they

said entrails, guts, fat-worms,
or just insides,

which won, the insides
of his leg looked like little grubs.

No one wanted to say maggot, not even the boys.
And when we squatted beside him to look,

I saw a piece of him move,
as though it fell, but I couldn’t find it later

in the dirt.
Then we heard he got flown

to Tulsa, flown out—
like that’s what you got

for ignoring the teacher, that’s what you got
for having smeared glasses

and a one-armed cousin,
that’s what you got.

Next day there were little rubber caps
over all the bolts,

so someone went down the slide again,
then someone else,

then eventually everyone
was on it.


Pamela Sue Hitchcock's "Insides" as well as "Playground" and "The Day My Father's Shop Towels Went to School With Me" can be read in the print edition of The Arkansas International 2.



Pamela Sue Hitchcock is a native of Tahlequah, Oklahoma, and is a tribal member of the Cherokee Nation. She was granted a fellowship to the Community of Writers at Squaw Valley, and her work has appeared in the Squaw Valley Review. She has lived in the Ozark Mountains most of her life.