E is for Earl
When Earl pulled up in his rust-colored trailer,
I ran out to meet him. He was the nice old man
who cut the grass. I loved him and sat
on his lap until one late summer afternoon,
I saw his serpent pressed to the thigh,
leering past the edge of his shorts.
I can still see the impassive
planes of his face and smell the smell
of cut grass cut with sweat.
Nothing much happened except
I learned something else I didn't want to know
and backed away into the house.
I told my mother I didn’t like him, but
she didn’t listen, and he kept coming back.
For years, I hid under a window upstairs
as he circled the house on his chopper.
He’s dead now. He took his own life.
I don't know how I heard
that in his suicide note he wrote
that he wished he had never
been born, but I understood why
he wished for oblivion.
Whatever he did, I forgive him.
On the playing field, Earl ripped up the grass and ate it.
In gym, he banged his fists against the painted bricks.
When he spoke to me, I listened
because he did not seem to want to be alive
and I could relate to his desire to die.
When he spoke to me, I listened until
one day he told me the name
of a girl he had forcibly defiled.
I regret. This is not
the only secret I have kept.
I picked his name from a shortlist
of psychotherapists that worked
with my university insurance.
Earl was a kind, listening man
in a still little room, filled
with white noise. For two years,
I confided in him about S_____,
my father, Burkan. Of course,
this was before I met a storefront
gypsy, who showed me through mystic
and irrefutable proofs that everything
has meaning and happens for a reason.
Back then, I just thought
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