Fuck, I can’t stand when I
slice a grapefruit to an uneven
split. For this small fault, I’m cursing
myself even while I replay the scene:
my student comes red-rimmed
to me and starts to spill—
her work unfinished, her essay
(Bradbury’s images of innocence
and corruption) not started. She’d found
a lump. A surgeon would have to cut.
She was scared. She was sorry, her work
unfinished. I did not curse her small fault.
Forgave it. No matter that essay.
No curse for her, only for me—
the askew-cut grapefruit—while my son,
couchbound in mother’s arms, roasts
with third day of fever. Unable to walk.
Tottering more than usual on new legs.
And after long today, a third night
I will hold him, wailing him,
him destined to small faults—
the broken glass, the crayoned wall—
soothe him with song and hands
until he falls asleep. Until his body
is limp and small, unhearing
of song, unfeeling of hands.