Gentle's Holler
Kerry Madden
Viking, 2005
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Gentle's Holler, Chapter One, Roasted Peanuts (cont'd)

The soft breaths of my sisters and brothers waft out of the window, and I'm glad to be out in the tree where I can hear the rush of the creek from way down in the holler. I wrap my arms and legs around a branch that brushes up against the side of the house and listen to the serenade of crickets, cicadas, and tree frogs. I try not to think about being hungry, yet I have discovered that when a person is powerful hungry, blacks seem blacker, blues bluer, and yellow seems to shimmer with dancing fairies in cool moonlight. I love breathing in the colors that take my mind off the growling in my belly.

Between the branches of the red maple scraping the inky sky, I can study the star patterns, and I reckon I'm right partial to the Seven Sisters, because I have seven sisters myself. I also have two brothers, one older and one younger. Of all the sisters, one is dead, but I like to believe she's up there in that mini-dipper winking down on us in Maggie Valley. My dead sister's name was Olivia Hyatt Weems, and though she died at birth, Mama and Daddy didn't see no use in wasting the name, so seeing as I was the next girl born, I became Olivia Hyatt Weems too. Livy Two for short. I'll be twelve-years-old come January.

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