when we received that last letter
from your mother,
well, you know, child,
we thought you might just be one of those babies
without any hope at all,
i mean, me and gramps are approaching seventy
and your dad ain't gettin' out for another
fifteen to twenty...

you're a smart kid, james, and you got
something my voodoo aunt would've called
a cavalier soul,
your eyes shine brighter than most,
you know, child,
like you're seeing something beautiful
in the dark trash the rest of us
call everyday

i'm not sure just what to do
a boy needs a mama, you know?
we've been talkin' about adoption or foster care
but every time you look at me
all i see is a desperation fixin' for a family

we love you
we love your mama too and we've tried damn hard
to forgive your daddy
but we ain't gonna live forever, you know, child,
we gotta think about your future
and don't think we ain't up to date
on the hell that's outside these doors;
we might be comfortably old but we're not stupid

have i told you that gramps prays every night
for an angel to come down to this earth
and look out for you?
i can hear him as i brush my teeth
he speaks softly but his heart attracts volume,
you know, child,
it's obvious that one day
you'll be alone,
did we love you enough?


After failing miserably as a rock star, Derek Richards began submitting his poetry, August 2009. Over 140 of his
poems have appeared in over seventy publications, including Lung, Breadcrumb Scabs, MediaVirus, Calliope Nerve,
tinfoildresses, Opium 2.0, Dew on the Kudzu, Sex and Murder, Splash of Red and fourpaperletters. He has also been
told to keep his day job by Quills and Parchment. Nothing annoys him more than poetry written solely to make
someone feel stupid. His ferret, cat and puppy couldn't agree more. Happily engaged, he resides in Gloucester,
MA., cleaning windows for a living.

i am a new englander with a dirty romanticism for the south.  the real south.  if i weren't in recovery from every chemical on the planet i would absolutely be living in N'Awlins by now. my fiance is from Virginia.  so "you know, child" just sprang up because i'd heard it so often on my trips south.  thats it.  thats how most of my poems happen; a word, a quick thought, a color, a joke, could be anything.  this, as most of what i consider my stronger work, couldn't hit the page fast enough.  the character was already there, waiting.




Copyright 2009