Thursday, April 28, 2011


I learned to tell the truth in kindergarten,
where my first teacher
taught me with a wooden shoe.
She showed me how,
if you tie the bow on your shoe
correctly, you can’t help but tell the truth.

We practiced, Tommy and I,
tying bows on a paper cut out that we
had to then show the teacher.
I couldn’t figure it out so Tommy
tied mine for me. The teacher though
had that wooden shoe.

Last night, I stood on the sidewalk
in a line around the block waiting to
get into a concert, and I had to tie my shoe.
I put my foot on a flower pot in
front of the house by which we were
waiting, and the pot promptly fell and
shattered on the sidewalk.

I rang the front doorbell at the top of the steep steps
and a woman with a baby in her arms answered.
I explained about the flower pot
and offered to pay for it.

She smiled: “Don’t worry about it
but thanks for telling me.
I was going to get rid of it anyways because
it was already broken.”

The baby smiled at me, and I looked at
her Mother with a dumb smile,
while the entire line of people,
who’ve been eavesdropping to this point,
suddenly burst into applause -

as if our honesty was
the end of the first act
in a two act play, and the audience,
having a little trouble following along,
was glad for the chance to duck out
during intermission.