Thursday, December 14, 2023

Sixty or More Winters on Its Head

No compensation now, since
She’s more than a decade gone.
Sixty-one winters ago,

She already knew the shape
On her lap was distorted
In the bone and had broken

More than once, fragility
Of the skeleton the gift
Of the previously frail

Father. She already knew,
So any compensation
Lay in hope for a preacher,

A handicapped man of God,
Frail witness to sturdy faith.
By thirty-five years later,

Those hopes, like their frail father,
Were on life support. She said
To her grown, atheist child

On his crutches, This will be
You, too, before long, pointing
To his father in the bed.

She said it with a meanness
And a note of resentment,
Since she was angry at him

For leaving the faith, leaving
His father disrespected,
Leaving the whole family

For another kind of life.
You’re in for a punishment
And you’re deserving of it,

Was what her tone said, although
She didn’t seem to notice
The implication would be

That his father was being
Punished for his own sins, now.
Her eyes flashed across the room,

Almost a hint of triumph
In them, probably as much
Compensation as she got.

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