Saturday, February 23, 2013


“Don’t speak until you’re spoken to,”
Sister Cecilia used to tell me
Right after she smacked me
In the back of the head
For blurting out in class,
Or laughing too loudly
Or letting her overhear
Some rude remark.
The pain of her blow
Adding to the lessons
She tried to get through
My thick skull
About not assuming
I had the right
To impose my opinion
In places where
I didn’t belong
That wild kid
In the black of the class
Too busy melting crayons
On the radiators
To actually pay attention
To what was going on
And yet, with guilt-stained
Multi-colored fingers
Poking up into the air
While saying whatever it was
That came to my mind
At the time,
“Don’t speak unless you’re
Spoken to,” the angry nun
Always told me, and I
Said, “Of course I won’t,”
Yet always did,
Needing more than
The back of her hand
To get that lesson
In my head,
Thought after so many
Years, I learned,
To wait until spoken to
Before I make
An utter fool of myself.

1 comment:

  1. This one really touched me, Al. Left me wondering how all those unfortunate boys turned out later on in life. Left me feeling a little guilty for having escaped the treatment simply because I was a girl.....