Another Role To Play



The filthy child, eyes deep and empty, 

fidgets in the chair, 

nodding at me in greeting, a silent request

catching my heart–

Next to him, mom tells us

about the demons and monsters, and

ending it all with a bottle or a knife,

her arm showing me how.


In that year, he runs free, 

finding life on a farm, far away from mom,

showing me, one day, his 

cowboy boots and his 

big grin.


Thirty years more, I’m next to a young lost soul, 

him talking with the prison guard, 

about ready to blow,

struggling into manhood, wanting

out of the jungle of his life with crazy mother, absent

fatherhoods, him being tossed into the trash.


The guard nods, taking it all in, offering a few

kind words and wisdom, 

now nodding at me in greeting, 


thirty years later.


Neal Lemery  5/27/2012

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