Youth Spotlight of the YEar
He Went to Buy a Pack of Smokes
The bright heat
Of an Alabama sun in July
Fell from Father’s shoulders,
Off his bare chest,
And to his feet
As he walked to the store shoeless
To buy a pack of smokes.
Mother said he was crazy
The years before I was born
And I knew it must be true
If he was anything like
The years after I came.
Three girls in a car passing by,
All strange and maybe beautiful,
Said they were going to California,
Did he want to come?
And just like that he was gone
From Mother’s life and mine,
The child yet born, the son unknown,
Leaving his wife without her heart.
He went barefoot everywhere he could,
And when I asked,
All he said was:
“I like to feel the earth.”
When he was my father,
He was older,
And maybe not so crazy,
But I would hold his hand tight anyway,
So afraid of losing him
When we walked along that highway
He had walked so long before.
Do you live in light?
Will you die in darkness?
Are you a rock?
Are you the water that wears away the rock?
Are you a tree?
In a storm will you break or bend?
Do you live in a house?
Which is more important, the walls or the space inside them?
Are you a rose?
Why use beauty to capture someone’s heart,
then use thorns to drive them away?
Are you the earth or the sky?
Are you a lighted candle?
Where does your fire come from?
Where does it go?
Can I turn a piece of coal into a diamond?
What about a diamond into a piece of coal?
Is love real?
Where does it come from?
If it were a taste, would it be bitter or sweet?