The Recruit

“When my son was 19, he came home with a Harley—proud, confident, and carefree. Rather than haunting his happiness with my dark maternal fears of what-could-go-wrong, I wrote this poem.”

The Recruit
Published by Eclectica Magazine, July 2019
 
I already imagine
how they’ll tell me
as you and your 19 years
wave one arm
pull out of the driveway
on your beloved Harley.

It will be an eager recruit
about your age
with a patch of an eager moustache
who comes to the door so
it’s good I practice;
it won’t be easy on him
center stage for the first time.

He’ll remain on the doorstep
next to the geraniums, strive
to remember what
he’s been trained to say, strive
to strike up appropriate conversation.
And I will listen this time.

If he were to witness my
instant diminishment
into the joints of the tiles
he might quit then and there.

It would be better for him
to stand testimony
to my understanding,
to me slapping my forehead saying,
I always feared this day would come.
This must be horrible for you.
Come in. Have some tea.
 
We’ll sit at the kitchen table
and I will listen to whatever
the recruit has to say, grateful
to help him on his way
with a generous ear.

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