Blesok no. 82, January-February, 2012

Down with Adults

Hal Sirowitz

Down with Adults

Mother went to the Tupperware party
and came back with an air-tight container.

I wasn’t invited. Mother said no children
were allowed. I could have easily dressed

up as an adult and pretended to become
one by speaking in clichés when

original thoughts were required.
Adults were older but not necessarily

smarter. Peter Pan’s “I Won’t Grow Up,’
was my anthem.  I recited it under my breath

while the other kids were pledging allegiance
to the flag. If the best grown-up toy adults

could come up with were Tupperware,
then I was looking for a society where

children were valued and had inalienable
rights, like Sweden where I heard it was

against the law to smack kids. I’d have
asked for asylum, but then I’d have

to learn Swedish to live there.
I had enough trouble with English.

You Should Have Listened

Confucius, or some other Asian sage
with a lot of charisma, said even a fish

wouldn’t get in trouble if it kept its
big mouth shut, father said. Most

of his sayings belong in unopened
Chinese fortune cookies. But it

seems more relevant than others
because we’re going to have fish

tonight. In some ways I’m glad
this fish didn’t listen to ancient

wisdom and opened his mouth,
because I’m tired of beef

and chicken. But just because
the fish didn’t listen doesn’t mean

you shouldn’t. I’m sorry if I
insulted the size of your mouth.

Keep your typical size mouth shut.

Crowded Conditions

Like they say, two
is company, three

is a crowd, which is
what happens, father said,

when a married couple has
a child – crowded conditions.

And the more children you have,
the more crowded it becomes

until you’re forced to find a house
with more bedrooms and bathrooms.

And it only stops when you stop
having children, provided they

don’t move into your house when
they become older with their families.

The Problem of Getting too Close

They say when you lie down
with a cat, father said, you get

up with fleas, which is the reason
you don’t see me lying down with

any animals. I slowly bend my back
until my hand is low enough to touch

the cat. Then I make sure to wash
my hands before I eat. Otherwise,

I’ll start looking like a dishevelled
cat, scratching myself constantly.

It doesn’t matter what the cat has
as long as I don’t catch it. So I

advise you to keep the cat off your bed.

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