A Summer walk

(This poem is about how we sometimes
unknowingly pass on our pain.)

He was only five,
programmed to believe
all that she said; so
something fragile broke
on that summer walk
when she casually announced,
I’m not your real mother,
then recounted how she
and her sister traded babies
one day a long time ago.

True, she recanted all
with a dismissive smile
and pat on the head
as a drizzle of tears turned
into breath-stealing sobs; yet
she remained blissfully unaware
that he was doomed to suffer,
from that day onward,
the far-reaching tentacles

of disquiet and doubt.
As they crossed the threshold
upon their return, she unveiled
her final ploy, an aside
for which the entire game
had been played—would he
rather live with her or his aunt!
In reply, he instinctively
sought to sink his roots deeper,
declaring with a child’s
passion, that he would stay
with her forever and ever
and ever.

And so the woman’s own wound
was soothed for another day,
but under the salve, would fester
and bide its time, surely
to erupt again.

© 2004 Dennis Ference

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