by Kelley White

and my parents dressed up as hippies
for a party at Penny Pitou’s

I painted my mother’s legs with
Daisies—they were always better than mine

and my father wore a Prince Valiant wig–
in all the pictures he’s grinning with a gap in his teeth
I don’t remember him having

they did the mashed potato
he never moved his feet

and three days later all us kids rode our bikes
down to the grange hall

to see a whole van of r e a l hippies
buying bread and gas at the village store

I went out and bought a floppy felt hat just like
the girls wore and stuck six chicken feathers
in the band and started carrying a guitar

I couldn’t play

SOURCE: First appeared in 2005 in an issue of Pegasus Review focused on parents.

AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION: That hat, Hanover, New Hampshire (1973).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: Yes, I’m an aging hippy. I finally gave the hat away when I was turning 60, though I did let my hair grow long again.

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Pediatrician Kelley White worked in inner city Philadelphia and now works in rural
 New Hampshire. Her poems have appeared in journals, including Exquisite Corpse, Rattle, and JAMA. Her most recent books are Toxic Environment (Boston Poet Press) and Two Birds in Flame (Beech River Books). She received a 2008 Pennsylvania Council on the Arts grant.