Thursday, December 2, 2010

Walking Melvin home

I found another poem in the archival stash Bern found in a drawer. This one I wrote when I was in college. One night, after a movie, a friend and I discovered a little boy who had was at the movie alone. We bought him ice cream and walked him home.


The line at the ice-cream stand
was long and very adult
and Melvin showed off.
But when my friend asked him
what was the most important
thing in the world,
he only answered--

The chocolate stuck to his mouth
and he was our leader:
"a little child shall lead".
And then he said you should
always be nice and sweet
to girls for if you weren't
sure to be they might
hit you.

His mother probably couldn't
make it to the theater
at ten o'clock, he said.
Or maybe she forgot the time.
So she didn't meet her little boy
who was seven years old
and walking home alone
except for

But when she met us on the street
near their apartment
going the other way
and when she only stopped long enough
to kiss him right on
his chocolate mouth
and didn't ask who we were,
we knew.

And bad words and drinking
according to Melvin
will make the Devil
get you
even though his parents
did it a lot
before daddy left
and took Melvin's
brother and left behind

And he said good-by three times
and even kissed my friend
and left us alone
on the sidewalk.
And I can't help thinking about Melvin
and Jesus and girls
and chocolate ice cream
and a mother who passed
her son at night
with two strangers and only

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About Me

some ponderings by an aging white man who is an Episcopal priest in Connecticut. Now retired but still working and still wondering what it all means...all of it.