Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Lunch Lessons

It was just past Thanksgiving, 
Dallas, Texas, 1968.

She made my lunch and sent me off to school.
It was a short stroll away;
a few kids picked butter cups at the cross walk.

Then noontime neared and
I arrived in another new lunchroom.

A hawk-faced teacher named Fitzgerald watched
for talkers and horse-play, with remedies aplenty.

My seat was next to some now-forgotten
new chum from 6B,
in a stiff chair at a  long narrow cream-colored table.
Everything seemed familiar but the faces and names

A lesson lay offered to me, hidden,
in the simple phrase,
"Let's trade sandwiches"

With no understanding of bravery or foolhardiness,
I heard him say to me, "I've got bologna, how 'bout yours?"
"Cow tongue," jumped from my smiled reply,
But my words splattered him like epithets.

His eyes went wide
I went home wiser.

His seat stayed empty
for so many weeks to come.

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