I must have been ten years old,
Maybe eleven, the years begin
To overlap, bleed into the next
Leaving a residue of amnesia.
He stood behind the counter
Ready to halve a watermelon
with a knife tensely clutched,
But it might as well have been
A pen, a slide rule or a feather boa.
The point was not the blade
In his tired, frustrated hand,
But the desperation in his heart.
She inched subtly to shield the boy,
He ran the defenseless fruit through,
Exposing the bright red flesh.
Now she questioned if her strategy
Was wise, and he played along
Making the menace seem real
With each sudden, successive division
Of the wet, sweet, beaming, fleshy fruit
This will teach the teacher
Not to bring her problems
To work, especially my work.
I guess I knew what was going on,
Still it was hard to tell the difference,
to understand the plain looks, silence,
Caused by fourteen hours that had cut
Into the affection and had drained
The words from his mind and the
Patience bone dry from his soul.
And multiply that by forty years.
So much is laid at the doorsteps
Of our parents, and to some justly
I guess, but there was nothing there,
Just a love that had no words,
Only the sacrifices loudly ignored,
The generosity dryly spit on.
And so he played the act well,
And got his meaning understood.
I’m thankful for me it finally came,
A little late, but in plenty of time