I don’t remember faces from my childhood.
They’re a blur: exaggerated smiles,
Eyebrows, haloed heads that burned as wild
As light allowed. My squinting smeared the aisles
And checkout lanes into impressionist
Paintings every time my parents handed
Their seven-year-old son a shopping list
And food stamps, but I did as they demanded.
One day, I brought my youngest sister in
To be my eyes. She asked me why the shoppers
Were angry, but I couldn’t see past dinner.
As we checked out, a granny—no one stopped her—
Called us scum and said our parents were lazy.
She followed us, spit, and then called me crazy.

Joshua Eric Williams

Joshua Eric Williams is a poet and nature writer from Carrollton, GA. He won the 2014 Eclectic Poetry Award, and his haiku collection, "The Strangest Conversation", was an honorable mention for the 2020 Haiku Society of America's Merit Book Award. His poetry has appeared in many print and online journals, including Measure and Modern Haiku.