One More Before National Poetry Month Ends



(Thank you, Andre Dubus.)

School lunchboxes rarely return empty,
unearthed from backpacks burdened
with bruised fruit, limp crusts –
the lingering refuse of schoolroom trades.

Were it food alone they grew on,
my children would wither like Dustbowl wheat,
nor have they any appetite
for fatherly sentiment.

I waste scant time on lectures,
save to hint how love
remains in these offerings, eaten or not.
I’d give them my flesh if it would feed them.

Delight planted sons in their mother,
and though there were times
she’d have gladly shared their hard bearing,
I’m far too frail to lodge such guests.

But this I can do: each evening,
gathering bread and fruit, observe
the ritual – this one must have a napkin;
the other, no bananas –

and fill each box with common things,
not only to feed, but –
through hidden graces – become
the bodies of my children.