“Somehow, when no one watched, he puzzled mudslide home and winning score into a dance of grace; somehow, when no one looked, he parquetried rough splinters into a smooth tongue.”
What could make a dull boy dance Sunday after supper with cousins he hadn't seen for so long? Was this puberty passed or some exercise in social grace? Seems a bit too sudden that this awkward length of gumfull jaw and baseball cards has come to press the womening to him and those eyes that just yesterday cursed their presence now caress their slightest moves, their every fold and flip of cloth. Should I have taken you to a woman learned to teach, then I would expect this man the women love. But fathers seem always startled by discoveries their sons have made without dad as guide--this isn't some schoolyard dirt he's made into this dance. Somehow, when no one watched, he puzzled mudslide home and winning score into a dance of grace; somehow, when no one looked, he parquetried rough splinters into a smooth tongue. Should I tell him when we are alone or does he now know of secret sports for man and wife: (There are no rules but those you make; the crowd won’t cheer your every catch; there are no scores and no scoreboards. One wins what’s given up to win; you cannot take.) I think he knows what makes a dull boy welcome dance (and he hasn’t told; not said a word to me or mom; I know he knows what I know makes a dull boy dance.)
Mississippian John Horváth Jr publishes internationally since the 1960s, recently in Munyori Review (Zimbabwe), Numbat (Australia), Pyrokinection, Illuminations (print), and Olentangy Review. After Vanderbilt and Florida State universities, “Doc” Horváth taught at historically Black colleges. Since 1997, promoting contemporary international poetry, Horváth edits www.poetryrepairs.com. John is a disabled Army veteran.