How We Talk to Children

Here’s another powerful poem by my Whitmanesque friend Jason Chambers, whose way with words often astounds me.

How we talk to frogs is softly,

but forthright, 

and wholly without shame. 

This they trust. 

How we talk to plants is 

with our hands,

and the leaves curl in response,

and bear memory of our imprint

through generations of seed. 

How we talk to each other is 

we listen,

with eyes that leave 

no room for doubt. 

How we work is filthy, 

and all-in, shovel flying,

and sweat sufficient 

to hide all tears- 

every scratch, 

every ache, 

every labored breath 

a miracle, a gift. 

How we eat peaches is shirtless,

faces shining joy 

and juice dripping irretrievable 

past every secret place. 

The old woman by the road 

bears all the marks of a traveler

so I buy a single yellow rose 

for my brother deer 

dead on the shoulder. 

Resting the bloom on his head

where antlers once were,

I look up as the schoolbus passes slow 

at twenty-two young eyes,

staring back. 

And I see them see me 

and the deer 

and the flower 

and the day perfect as all others,

and I know my daddy sees it too,

and he’s never been more proud.

I believe those sun glasses belong to Caroline Tigner Moore

Sorry about the squeaky chair in the recording, but I can’t read it without dancing, even in a chair.