Voices on the Wind
Voices from Home
Passing On the Ways of the World
by Gary David
In a downer trailer park we ended up
across from a crystal meth lab
a SWAT team raided one day, rifles raised
and yelling—like in the old Westerns—
“Come out with your hands up!”
Some punk my daughter’s age
used to tear around on his bike, popping
wheelies and spitting
gravel. The kind of dad-less waif who
slashes tires at ten,
steals a joyride at fifteen, beats
and rapes a jogger at twenty.
I was painting my porch and
he stopped to watch. “Wanna try?”
I smiled, thinking Tom Sawyer.
He grabbed my brush and eagerly began
to slop on green paint. “No, like this.
Do it like this—smooth and easy.”
Then it hit me: I was passing on
the ways of the world—a shared pleasure
my daughter has no need for.
Such intergenerational transfer to her
is a mystery deeper than our poverty.
Over the years a passel of DSM PhDs
gave us a raft of labels to save her
from drowning in depression: attention
deficit asperger’s epilepsy dyslexia schizophrenia bipolar
whatever—a whole complex of
syndromes and disorders. But
all their degrees failed to fathom
this hole in her heart, mine, these bloodlines