Wednesday, May 27, 2015


at school is against the rules,
so when a spike-haired

first grader in need
butts up against your hip,

don’t you wrap your arms
round his skinny bones, don’t you

cup his skull in your palms,
smooth a knuckle up his baby cheek:

he’s got lice, he’s got AIDS;
you kiss him, you die,

or worse: late nights, he’ll hunch up small,
stare into some laugh show

and whisper what no half-pissed dad
cares to hear from his wife’s

kid at the end of a long day
of nothing, when sleep

is the only country,
anywhere else, terror:

a father you’ve marked
before, slouching into parent night,

two hands trembling
along his thighs like birds

shot down,
black eyes wary as a bull’s:

he blinks at the butcher,
you smile, you fold

your unheld hands;
what roils in his wake is the one

you won’t teach
to beg an answer from love.

[from How the Crimes Happened, by Dawn Potter (CavanKerry Press, 2010)]

No comments: