Sunday, August 30, 2020

Supper in Silence


Some of us grew up in quiet families. I can remember sitting at the table with my family eating supper in silence. Or riding in the car with my father without saying a word. While in college, I commuted 25 miles to a summer job with my uncle. Those were long silent rides, especially at night, for we both worked the second shift, from 3:00 PM – 11:00 PM. I also remember nights when he woke up when the car bumped off the road. It still puzzles me why I didn’t wake him as he was falling asleep at the wheel. I knew what was happening.

As a youngster, nobody asked me (or my brothers and sister) about my day at school. And my parents didn’t talk about what they did. If a classmate made fun of me, I kept it to myself. I understood that it was due to a deficiency of mine.

In my poetry chapbook, Time Carries All Things Away, I write about a lifesyle of native understandings without benefit of words. Here’s from the poem “My Sister and Me.”

It wasn’t necessary to learn names
of things like weeds.
We knew such as dandelion, spurge,
and clover by their preference
for sun or shade;
by their predilection
for parking or creeping

The poem ends with my going to school and meeting conversations as I had never experienced before. And what a dramatic difference that made.

Time Carries All Things Away is available from MainStreet Rag publishing for $12 plus shipping.

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