I could take your hand
and walk you through
the world my friend
4 foot 10
and soaring
so much older than your 7 years.
in you I see all the
troubles of the world
the impulse to push
fist first
grabbing all the
markers in the room
so much younger
than your 7 years.
in your green eyes
i see your heart
beating like a time-bomb
going off going off going off

how many times
did you hide
your face from us?
when you couldn't
have your way
when you were
out-of-line again
and couldn't face it.
the skin around your eyes
puffing up red,
your fists hiding your face.
"i didn't"
when everyone said you did.

nice teachers
the policies
of school boards
all the educational
research in the world
can't help you learn
unlearn the patterns
of your 7 years

so I couldn't perform
any miracles
i didn't get through
to you.
spelled it out
a hundred times
but nothing worked.
nothing changed
your impulse to push.

but I would come back
and take your hand
my friend
i'd place it
below a running tap
say this is your hand
and this is your heart
and these are the ways
to use them
this is the way
i was taught.

so maybe i see
myself in you:
willful child
of 26 years.
a fist in the world
turned into a palm:
with teachers
who never gave in
who never gave up.

Zaffi Gousopoulos
Willowdale, Ontario

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