Annabelle Lee lived across the

road from my Granny’s house,

we met the year I was ten.

She had piercing ice- blue eyes

long hair the color of straw

and she never wore shoes.


Annabelle Lee could run

like the wind!

She was with me that time

I fell on the edge of the new road

that was being laid out in town;

between Granny’s house

and her house…

tiny houses on two sides of a new highway

in an old town in Oklahoma


looking on with great interest,

as my mother and Granny

poured hydrogen peroxide

marveling how it bubbled up

mixing with the clotting dark red blood

Annabelle Lee knew no fear!



She liked bugs…

Caterpillars and katydids.

She liked peach ice cream.

She called her Granny, Meemey.


Annabelle Lee ran barefoot

through the town,

sometimes taking me along,

in my slower sandal-clad feet,

to exciting places she knew…

that summer, when I was ten.


She was there to teach me about fireflies

magically capturing them

making our own personal fairy lanterns

in old emptied out mason jars


She was there to help churn

fresh peach ice-cream,

on my Granny’s front porch,

the only time I’ve ever enjoyed it,

home made from a churn.


She sat beside me in the storm shelter

half-filled with brackish water, when

the tornado siren blew;

holding my frightened hand

 tightly in hers.  I loved her fearlessness.


Sometimes I would read to her from my Bobbsey Twins books

on her weathered front porch in the

humid afternoon sun, when I was ten years old.

That year we were moving to Mississippi.


Annabelle Lee died when I was eleven.

She drowned in the manmade lake

outside town.

The lake where we had sprawled in the grass

on a hilltop watching fireworks on the fourth of July,

earlier that year.

I read the newspaper clipping

Granny enclosed in a letter


Annabelle Lee was drowned and dead;

Fishes nibbled her tiny fingers

and her always bare toes.

I pictured her floating face down

straw-blond hair streaming…

bright blue eyes wide open in surprise.


I wonder now

 how she’d have grown.

Would she have studied bugs, or

ran in the Olympics, or

pursued medical school

with her curious, inquisitive nature.


I have never thought about

Annabelle Lee again…

until this past week, that is.

Her memory has made my

sixty-three year old heart sigh.

Suddenly, I am sad.



June 14, 2012


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