Le Sacrifice

By Terri Kent

January 25, 2021

Le Sacrifice

Mom, sitting on the floor among a group of cross-legged Girl Scouts, teaches us a song in a language none of us know.  

“Orléans, Beaugency,

Notre-Dame de Cléry,

Vendôme, Vendôme!”

What Mom does know is that, when sung in a round by the troop, the song will sound like cathedral bells.

This is 1973. I am in fifth grade. By summer’s end, Mom will return to work, full time. She will thread a piece of yellow yarn through the front door key and tie it around my neck. When I tuck the key under my shirt, it will be cold against my sternum.

After school, most days, I’ll boil ramen or nuke Dennison’s Chili.

If Dad gets home from work before Mom, he’ll rage at the absence of a proper dinner, and I’ll slink beneath my bed.

From there, I’ll hear him in the kitchen and then in the living room, where he’ll turn on the 6 o’ clock news.


I’ll hear the word ring out from the TV, from the mouths of women who haven’t made dinner.


Another foreign language to guess at.

“Bitches,” my dad will say. A word I know and will agree with.

Beneath my bed, I’ll trace the braided yellow yarn, finger the cold key.

Beneath my bed, I’ll sing cathedral bells in a tongue that makes more sense than my own.

Cathedral bells will vibrate against my bare bed springs, pinging something that is not freedom, but maybe one day, will be.


Terri lives, writes, teaches, and learns in Northern California. Her poetry and prose have been published in various journals and reviews whose titles can be found at her website: terridawnkent.com


Photo by Shaouraav Shreshtha courtesy of Unsplash

comments powered by Disqus « Back to Beautiful-Things

Newsletter Sign Up

shadow shadow