Today's poem is by David Bottoms
Holidays and Sundays
They'd settle in our living room, cross their legsthree or four uncles,
my old man. They'd stare at each other
and pull at their ears while the women cleared the dishes.
Okay, maybe somebody would mention rain
and draw a nod from across the room, or a ball game
that had gone into extra innings,
but mostly there was silence, as though they'd all agreed
the world was beyond comment.
I grew up thinking this was how men behaved, holding
their thoughts close to their chests. A compliment, sure, at dinner
the beans, the potatoesbut that was it.
Nobody fired off a joke, nobody lobbed a war story
over anybody's bow. Not the tiniest pinch
of philosophy, politics, theology.
Only that slow retreat into calculated silence,
which wasn't exactly boredom,
but more the silence you got at church or funerals,
which was the way you faced the sacred, or death,
or that inscrutable laughter from the kitchen.
Copyright © 2009 David Bottoms All rights reserved
from the Southern Review
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission
Support Verse Daily
Sponsor Verse Daily!
Web Monthly Features
About Verse Daily
Submit to Verse Daily
Publications Noted & Received
Copyright © 2002-2009 Verse Daily
All Rights Reserved
Copyright © 2002-2009 Verse Daily All Rights Reserved