(after Chris Bursk’s class)
on Swain Street taunted he said you said.
I shouted, Your mother lives in a hole.
They took off Gary's glasses, jeering,
You're not going to take that from him.
He cut up your mom.
kept howling for a fight. He said
your mother lives in a hole.
Do something about it!
Fists flew. Gary's knuckles caught my chin.
My lip split. I punched him in the stomach.
My right fist hurt his skinny face.
His nose bled trickling on his t-shirt.
We wrestled to the pavement, bruising
each other, skinning knees and elbows
the noise Mrs. Ward hollered
from her window, Shame on you boys.
Stop it this minute or I’ll call the cops!
Still the taunting went on, He said your mom
lives in a hole. Gary wouldn’t shake hands.
He left with the guys. I walked home.
Gary’s mom spoke on the phone
to mine. Your son is not that kind of boy.
I know he didn't mean what he said.
Next day I was invited to Gary’s house
for a Friday meal of fish sticks and fries,
apple sauce and Triple-Cola.
At the dining room table, I said,
I didn't mean anything by it.
I am very sorry. Gary’s mom nodded.
You two make up and eat.
We shook hands across the table.
Our eyes never met. We never
Again knocked on the other’s door.