Childhood Memories from a Handful of Months After My Mother Died 

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March 21, 2022 by The Citron Review

by Amy Lyons


Cartoons and sit-coms; boxed snack cakes; barbecues in an overgrown backyard; public pool cannonballs; beach trips with bologna sandwiches and Cokes on ice in a Styrofoam cooler; Go Fish; UNO; Operation; Mozart failing to drown out my father’s sobs at night; Checkers; Monopoly; Sorry; singalongs on drives (destinations unremembered, lyrics ingrained): With a hoot and a holler and a dime and a dollar I’m a lucky son-of-a-gun; piles of dirty laundry; War; penny Poker; Slap Jack; candlepin bowling; a teacher physically removing me from my father’s side as I wailed I won’t go day one of fourth grade; Return of the Jedi by George Lucas; Star Wars by President Ronald Reagan; begging a sleep-away camp counselor to take me home; meeting my father’s mother for the first time; sleepwalking; Connect Four; meeting my forever best friend in fourth grade because timing is everything; Hungry, Hungry, Hippos; dirty dishes; Lean Cuisines; Twinkies; Devil Dogs; the bone deep euphoria of my first major weight loss; the start of night terrors that stalked my sleep for thirty years; perfect report cards; paper plates; every sock a hole; eating myself sick because at least sick was something; Purple Rain; searing jealousy of my mothered friends; the McDonald’s drive thru; the full-body panic when the teacher told us to make Mother’s Day cards; messages on the machine from credit card companies; my father stealing food; Julian Lennon’s Much Too Late for Goodbyes; latchkey kidding; my father threatening they’d take us away if we said unsupervised, home alone, hungry; charades; hangman; tic-tac-toe; my first bout with a brand of loneliness that worsens in public; my sisters as life boats but also as islands; the broken down beater; the other broken down beater, the subway; the bus; the astonishing kindness of that one neighbor mother; hopscotch; her headstone.    


Amy Lyons has recent work in HAD, Waxwing, Prime Number, Flash Frog, Literary Mama, No Contact, 100 Word Story, Lunch Ticket, and others. Her writing has been recognized and supported by an honorable mention from Miami Book Fair’s 2021 Emerging Writer Fellowship in Fiction, a 2021 Best Microfiction nomination, a 2020 Best of the Net nomination, a 2020 Best Small Fictions nomination, a 2019 residency at Millay Colony for the Arts, and a 2019 Mid-Atlantic Arts Foundation Creative Fellowship. She’s a Tin House alum and holds an MFA from Bennington. 



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