take your seat please
by Paul Koniecki



Paul?

Yes Mrs Heinz.

You were late today.

Yes Mrs Heinz.

We've discussed this before so I'd like you to stay in
at recess and write the class a poem

But..

Then tomorrow you can read it to us.

But..

That'll be all for now. Take your seat please.

Yes Mrs Heinz.



Playground Marbles



I have the most.

And I am the best. And I am brave.

I am the best marble player in school.

I keep my playground marbles

in a drawstring pouch.

The pouch looks like bit-o-honey

or captain crunch

or the color of the sun

sitting in a wheat field.


During recess we all run out to play.

The playground is asphalt.

Where the asphalt ends

and before the grass begins

there is good even dirt.

This is where we dig.

And we dig to catch the marbles.

And we dig to see who's best.

The hole we dig is the size of a tuna can.

The Earth is soft and brown like my Mother's hair.

In my pouch I have purees and steelies

and cats-eyes and swirlies.

I have rubies and greenies and blues.

I have the most. And I am the best. And I am brave.

On my stomach and in the dirt my fingers are perfect.

And they know who invented marbles.

And they know the answer to the capital of Vermont.

And they know long division.

And they know the right thing to say when Dad asks

why you haven't finished raking all the leaves yet

(middle finger extended).



Then one day that little weasel

Andy Eyerise stole my marble pouch.

I ran to Mrs Heinz

but all she said was

"take your seat please".

Now all my marbles are gone

and I have to go home and explain to my Dad

that all the marbles he bought me are gone.


And I am not brave anymore.


School day done

head hung low

homeward I trudged.

Kicking rocks and praying my father would be out

I found him sitting

at the kitchen table

eating creamed hamburger on toast

he called shit-on-a-shingle.

Hoping to pass unnoticed

I also prayed for invisibility.

And he stopped eating his favorite meal.

And he looked up.

And he looked me in the eye.

And God can see where you are weak.

And my Father asked "where are all your marbles"?

And I told him.

And he said "rest your hand on the table palm up".

And he

walked out of

the kitchen and

down the basement steps.

Moments later he returned

holding his hands behind his back

and said "pick one".

I wished for steelies or rubies.

In a way

both hands held

something steel and something red.

And I picked

his left-hand

because he was a lefty.

And the glint of metal

reminded me of the special

fillet knives he kept in the basement.

And I've always thought

my thin white scar

looked like a crooked little smile.


You asked me for a poem.

And all I brought you was a handful of pain.


Two for flinching.





Illya's Honey Literary Journal

Copyright by Dallas Poets Community. First Rights Reserved. All other rights revert to the authors.