I taught them…each…to nose wriggle
like a rabbit…to imagine a bee sitting
at their nose tip about to sting…perhaps
unless they quickly wiggled it away…and
that there are no guarantees in real life
that they would not be hurt…I told them
I taught them…each… to close observe
the curve of listeners’ lips for secret
disbelief…disdain…the doubting shown
when lips are closed and corners flicked
down even for an instant…I told them
and then I wrote gesnorenplartz upon a screen
and told them that it meant smashed peas
and then I watched…and so did they…each other
and then they mostly knowing smiled
and then we began our reading of his tragedy…
how…what happened when…Montague and Capulet
and Friar and Nurse and Escalus of Verona lied
oh, when they lied…to their young
In Spring, when Aeolus breathes
across their farms, girls boys lift
diamond butcher paper balsa wood
tied kites into his breath to feel out
currents, pull and sway…to test for
dominance of distance draft and lift.
Should such taunting pastime flag…
especially when Zeus streaks bolts
of lightning from his distant clouds…
their sporting turns to trouting with
live worms on hooks on lines on fish
poles by Naiades’ stream, in wordless
rivalry for the longest rainbow…best
tussle with a catch…finesse in reeling
out a gasping fish onto the grass.
When distant shouts bell whistle,
or the slant of shadow from a tree,
summon them to home, they end
camaraderie for one last sport…
these young contenders on a field.
They grasp hands tight slippery
with dirt spit sweat…link a ragged
crack-the-whip-snap for one last
quick elbow jab, foot trip, arm jerk,
stubbed toe, let go, fall dizzy to the
ground…as they play out their mythic
childhood of no tears, first middle last,
win lose…high tension…limit testing
dominance of lines.
Eat raw cookie dough for vanilla
butter salty sweet with a chip
of chocolate melting finish the way
I do…I know…I know the egg and
the salmonella…what the hell…
just do it.
My six-year self loved raw beef;
ate bright red hamburger with
my dad with lots of pepper salt
god…that was glorious…though
don’t relish it as much since he…
the missing is still fresh.
Mom and I lounged on a porch to
watch storms…great gashes of bright
lightning and chest thump thunder;
we’d ooh and aaw at strikes as if
they were fireworks.
And…oh they gave me freedom
to be dusty trail stream woodland
wilded fisher child talkative…curious
with gypsies gathering dandelions for
bitter tonic…in our pastureland with
me acres and acres away from home
me…their only child…my folks they
just did it.
I know…I know the dangers…and
they raised me their way…then;
damn-ed outcomes seem to hover
closer now for solo children…for
we’re used to expect danger…not
as much do risky…not to think weigh
teach caution balance breathe and
then just…let…them…do it.
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