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Legal Guardian Sign Here

Rebekah Story

Legal Guardian Sign Here • Rebekah Story

My mother gave birth to me

In the sterile white of a scheduled hospital.

I was a schedule from the beginning.

The tender age of forty-three

And the experience of seven births before.

The labor was forty-three minutes.

The day was August twenty-fourth.

The time was 1:24 p.m.

Five people witnessed

The success after five miscarriages.

I don’t think I was much of a success after that.

“You need to turn this in by Friday,” the teacher tells the class. 

“Make sure you get your parent’s signature.

It doesn’t count unless they’ve signed it.”

“I can tell if you’ve forged a signature,” she says.

“If I don’t have your paper with your parent’s signature by Friday, 

Then you can’t go up to the lodge with the rest of the class.”

My mother never cared for field trips.

My mother never cared for signing things.

Had anyone in my family cared for those things?

Perhaps my siblings are too old to tell me about field trips. 

Perhaps my mother is too old to sign things.

Legal Guardian Sign Here, the paper says.

That couldn’t be talking about my mother.

Perhaps it meant the park tree

Who kept me dry on snowy nights.

Perhaps it meant the moonlight

Who watched the night for intruders.

Perhaps it meant the apple orchard

Who gave me excuses to leave.

But how could a tree have a signature?

My dad could sign the paper.

“Remember,” the teacher strained, “by Friday.”

But I wouldn’t see him until the weekend.

I ask if I can turn it in on Monday.

“We leave on Monday,” the teacher glares.

“If you can’t get it signed,

Then you can’t come to the lodge.”

I don’t tell her about what happens to papers in my mother’s hands.

Or what happens to missing homework I need help on.

I don’t want to start problems like the last field trip that happened.

I don’t want my siblings to see me cause another mood.

I don’t want another example of my mother’s hand being too old to care.

Maybe my dad could sign for the next field trip.

I never liked going to the mountains anyway.

Too many park trees that remind me of snowy nights. 

My classmates would make camping less fun anyway. 

Too many complaints about the moonlight.

I fold the paper in half while others happily wave them around. 

As I exit the classroom to start my journey home,

I throw the permission slip in the trash.

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