Today's poem is by Paul Hostovsky

Only Child

In my one and only childhood
I didn't like to eat in front of people.
I think I thought it made me look weak.
I think I thought I ought to be immune
to hunger and thirst, and rain and cold.
I refused to carry an umbrella
or wear a jacket or a hat. I think
I thought that having a body was
something to deny, or deplore,
or indulge in only secretly and
alone. I don't know why I thought that.
I sucked my thumb surreptitiously
until I was thirteen and a half,
pretending to my father that I didn't.
My mother knew, though.
Years later, the mother of my children
wanted a divorce. "Because you're
weak;' she said. And what
could I say to that? After all, IQ been
eating in front of people for years,
carrying an umbrella and wearing
a jacket and a hat. All of a sudden,
I found myself alone and right all along.
I was right all along, I said to myself,
curled up in that narrow motel bed,
separated from my wife and kids, my thumb
tasting like it belonged to somebody else.

Copyright © 2017 Paul Hostovsky All rights reserved
from Is That What That Is
FutureCycle Press
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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