my mother always took us to this farm, on the west side, past the corn and
down the road that is far too empty for
speed limit signs or painted yellow
no need, waste of time.
in the country, things that do not bring immediate life are
a waste of time. there is a farm
on Whittier Road
and five children pulling my mother's hands
in all different directions-
my brothers let cows lick their miniature palms and giggled, leaned away with awe,
we had never seen an
uninhibited tongue before. i stand away, uncomfortable; it is too close, too lifelike.
50 cents for the machine- i liked to feed the chickens instead,
throw the kernels far from my feet and watch, i could observe my contribution,
sustain them without sacrificing
any of my space, my trust that i wouldn't be bitten
i was left with empty fists in 3 minutes.
i couldn't stand to pace it out, couldn't wait
to give my compassion away, couldn't throw
my empathy fast enough.
me, i am the kindest, i keep my violence close to my chest,
you will never have to see it,
me, i am the kindest child. i deserve the kernels of your compassion
i like to nurture,
like to feed.
my mother taught me to give kernels of myself
two feet away or
i would be bitten by the absence of gratitude.
my mother gave me
a messiah complex and 50 cents for the feed machine.
i am learning to conserve my tenderness now,
learning to show an uninhibited tongue.
it is not a waste of time to paint yellow
lines on yourself.