For a while at first
small hands fat with fabric
clung to their parents' clothes.
going home words were:
yuck, and gross, and disgusting
as they remembered
moan and curse and whimper
the smell of sickness and of pee
old misshappen people
who speak their anger loud
and offer thin cool hands to hold
the soft, cringing hands of the living.
But children learn quickly
to see past the mask of faded youth
discover power in their fingertips
happiness hidden in an embrace.
Today they walk the halls
dispence handshakes like sacred blessings
call all the women the names
they have themselves forgotten
and reap a bumper crop of smiles.
Copyright © 1996 Hugh MacDonald
Used with permisson of the author.
From Looking for Mother, by Hugh MacDonald.
Windsor, Ontario, Canada: Black Moss Press, 1995.
(Dist. by Firefly Books, Ltd. Sparks Ave.,
Willowdale, Ontario M2H2S4
ISBN 0-88753-259-4 ISBN 0-88753-255-1 $14.95)
Email Hugh at firstname.lastname@example.org
Hugh's Home Address:
Hollow Pine Cottage, Robertson Road,
Montague RR#5 PEI Canada, C0A 1R0