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Sara Alexander

“Make love like the bees do.”  

Betty used to say  

Over blue checkered linens and macaroni salad bowls.  

I was nine  

I would help peel fresh grapefruit ‘till  

my fingers got soggy.  


With licked fingers and a thumb thimble,  

Betty flipped through Sudoku puzzles in the  

back of bent catalogs.  


She talked about George.  

My great-grandfather from Germany  

The pilot who bombed his hometown  

Fighting for the allies in WWII.  


He went mad after that.  


“George got angry a lot. ‘Used to yell.” She would say.  


I watched the bluebirds and daffodils fold on Betty’s moo-moo  

as she pulled a yellowing recipe card  

from a black and white album.  


It was Betty’s famous macaroni salad,  

good on Thanksgivings and Christmas and for leftovers and on Wednesdays.  


I set aside my peels, wiping citrus fingers on newspaper corners.  

She handed me a knife. My job was to cut onions, not my fingers.  


Betty said she raised 5 girls on this macaroni  

Marcie, Kim, Fritzi, Meredith, Gwen  


“A pilot in the army, a social worker, two nurses and a mother.”  

She wagged a bony finger. “And there’s nothin’ wrong with just bein’ a mother.”  


“We got along fine, just us gals.”  


She handed me the spatula like it was dessert.  

I looked back at lines and kind eyes and mayonnaise and dill bits.  


I held it under the table for Birdie to lick instead. 

Spring 2024

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