My Mother Says
He stomped into the small lounge
And dropped his school kit on the floor
Beside the tutoring table
With a thump.
He eyed the paper doily with its apple juice
And the silver muffin cup
Glinting with bright SKITTLES.
Without a word he sat down
Took a sip of juice and licked his lips.
He toyed with choosing the best colour
For first burst of pre-lesson flavour.
He pulled the Math paper into place
Reaching for a pencil, scorning the rubber.
‘Bit of a hard day at school?’
No answer. He didn’t look up.
‘There are three examples to work
Like the ones on your school test
That you X'd with a thick, black marker.
This is a test for me.
I need to understand where you are
Having trouble sorting things out.
Do the best you can so that
I can do the best I can.’
The pencil flew. ‘That is excellent.’
The pencil flew again. ‘Well done.’
He laid it across his completed work
Neatly, like the figures of his computations.
He looked up
His dark eyes bruised with misery.
‘My mother says
I am just my father’s sperm.’
Cynthia Buell Thomas