Battle Plan


My father was bright,
He spoke like a scholar
Learned by the hour
So, I learned more.
His wife was a peasant
Hateful of teachers
She ran from The Sisters
She took school no more.

On one side I saw him
Showing me secrets
Ideas and tenets
By dozens of scores
He told funny stories
And role-played the people
In town by the stores.

His wife watched the TV
Drinking her sodas
Watching soap operas
Not wanting much more.
She resented the knowledge
I gleaned from her husband
From uppity children.
I knew it was war.

The battle was joined
Before I could know it
Before I could see it.
And know what it was for.
She wanted me broken
A subservient minion
Doing her bidding
Uttering nothing
That she could deplore.

My Dad couldn't see it;
He had his hot dinner
His furnace in winter
And he needed no more.
He wanted no problems
No questioning children;
They should do what is bidden
So he chose to ignore.

With no help or solace
I faced every condition,
Each demand for submission,
With pretense I was dumb.
I survived the war this way
Ducking and dodging
No choice in my lodging
Growing increasingly numb.

They were joyless years
No rescue or respite
No kind of help for it
On either side of our door.
It was the way of the world
People having children
For all the wrong reasons
Casualties of neglectful war.