(Author’s first-ever published poem.)
By Lee Jines
I remember my mother yelling upstairs for me to get up,
And that if I didn’t get up right now,
she waddn’ gonna yell any more,
And I remember her yelling some more.
I remember my mother standing at the kitchen stove turning bacon with a fork.
I remember her driving my friend and me to the movies at the Dalton Theater.
And picking us up, half frozen, thanks to the AC, in shorts and t-shirts.
I remember her buying us an ice cream cone (one scoop for a nickel) on the way home.
And saying that ice cream actually warms you up.
I remember my father peeling and artistically sectioning an apple with his case knife.
I remember my father out in his work shed taking something that didn’t work, and
making it work again
And that one time I saw him laugh at something on the black and white tv.
I remember my mother and my father sitting on the porch swing that was made for
Mother when she was born,
Sitting and rocking gently and drinking a tall glass of lemonade or sweet iced tea.
Her staring off into space and him looking grumpily content—if such is possible.
Later, I remember him sitting on that same porch swing,
and I was telling him I had to go off to California,
And that I felt unloved in that house of our family,
And I remember him saying “of course I love you. You are my son.”
I remember that, more than anything, sealed my decision to leave.
And I remember my mother telling me, as mothers have always done,
“He didn’t mean it like that.”
And I remember that when she and I had that conversation,
it was on that same porch swing.
Later still, when I grew through all that stuff (as much as one does),
I remember my father singing “found a peanut” and cutting up an apple for his grandkids.
Children my brothers and sister presented to his waning years.
I remember deciding that I would have no children.
Children to love just because they were my children.
I remember deciding that if and when I ever did procreate.
I would tell them every day,
that I love THEM.
WHO they are. Separate from our carnal connection.
Today, I am the father of a son and a daughter,
and i have kept my word.
I am also the inheritor of that old porch swing
and that trusty, well used, case knife,
and they hold many memories.
And oddly, as I remember my mother and my father,
I thank them for this left-handed lesson.
I like to think that, were they still here, they might even love me
BECAUSE I have learned how to love my children.
And not just because I’m their son.
Lee R. Jines (1941-2014) – Born in Baton Rouge, LA, Lee was an Army veteran and was active in the ceramic and sculpture art community, little theater, commercial modeling, and has appeared in a few movies.
“Parental Love” is Lee Jines’ first-ever published ‘prosetry.’
"Parental Love" © 2012 Lee Jines