At age five, I discovered that when I pulled back the skin
Near where I peed, I could make myself look like
An elephant with a short trunk, and big floppy ears!
What a laugh I expected to get when I showed my friends!
Instead, I saw multiple pairs of wide, disbelieving eyes
Staring blankly back at me, mouths wide-open
No one laughed at the dinner table either
As my brother; owner of a pair of those disbelieving eyes
Recounted in vivid detail, my first attempt at stand-up comedy!
I wish my father had listened first, and then said, “Honey,
There are many ways to be funny! This wasn’t one of them!
You must keep your clothes on while you are outside.”
Instead, he etched his big Italian-American hand-print, easily readable
In the upper left-hand quadrant of my tender, young back
Then he sent me straight to bed, sobbing
This could have been an important learning curve
He could have gently encouraged me along my life’s journey
Toward a healthy, intimate relationship with myself, and others!
Instead, he chose violence,
And inflicted a shame
Which would take a life-time to over-come
Glistening dew drips from a half-awake leaf,
Your dew drips from my half-awake mouth
The sun rises, in all her majesty, to greet the new day,
While your refreshed body, rises again, to greet me
A robin jumps on the window sill, singing her morning song
As I eagerly jump on you, to sing my own song.
Scent of My Father
In the morning
I would jump in their bed
And could smell my father in the sheets
It was a warm, musky smell
Unidentifiable as the lingering scent
It was simply my father’s scent
Strong and comforting like him
It was cozy when they’d let me
Snuggle in between them
But even sweeter
When they both had left the bed
Then I could nestle my nose in the sheets
And smell my father unashamedly
He died suddenly when I was twenty-five
I was inconsolable
My mother let me keep his robe
His robe reminds me of his sheets
Luanne Pumo Jaconia, CSSW, began her career in child protective services, and currently facilitates parenting workshops. Luanne and her husband are parents of two; hands-on grandparents of three. Her poems often reflect the difficult and exhilarating experiences that happen within families as they grow. Luanne began submitting poetry at 70.