I asked a friend, What is the earliest memory of your childhood?
She said it was a clear winter day in the city. Said she was dressed
in a flamingo pink snowsuit with appliqued flowers. She wore little
white boots. Her mother and her aunt held each hand as she toddled
down the sidewalk. She asked me, What is the earliest memory of
your childhood? I said, I was in my highchair in the kitchen. My mother
put a powdered sugar donut on the tray, which I promptly picked up
and threw to the floor. I remember wanting to do this. . . . I clearly
remember wondering, Is this arm mine? Does this hand belong to me?
I liked the pasty ooze on my fingers squishing the greasy donut, the
act of tossing it without a notion of why, the little puff of sugar smoke
when it hit the floor. I remember the soft sound of the donut exploding
on the tiles, little pieces of pastry breaking away. I remember it was my
left hand that did the throwing. It was the hand that eventually learned
to write. I remember my mother laughed.
Maria Rouphail is the author of Apertures (Finishing Line Press, New Women’s Voices) and Second Skin (Main Street Rag). Senior Lecturer Emerita from the English Department at North Carolina State University, Rouphail has published widely, and is the 2019 second place winner in the Nazim Hikmet International Poetry Contest. She is currently at work on her third collection. She lives in Raleigh, NC.