Sunday, October 5, 2008

Poem of the Week #40

Found a Peanut

In fifth grade, we scoffed
at the notion that a stepped-on crack
would break your mother’s back;
unlike those in first grade
who believed anything they were told.

You’d see them making their way
home from school, mindful
of their mothers’ spines, debating
the feasibility of Santa’s overnight
journey and the going price of teeth.

We’d snicker. And yet, we were not
above superstition. For us—older and so,
that much closer to death—the specter
of the rotten peanut loomed heavy.
Was it the wistful tune that brought

this demon nut to bear so hard upon
our psyches; made us wonder, could one
ill-chosen, delicious treat really kill you?
When I could have, should have, made
a wiser choice, why did I ignore the signs?

And that doctor, who said I wouldn’t die,
but then, I died anyway. And then
I went to heaven and met St. Peter
in some versions. But there was always
confusion. No one could agree on the end.

So we’d punch each other in the shoulder,
brush off death-by-peanut, purposely
step on a crack or two, just for the hell of it.

Lisa Vihos

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