Epiphany During A Funeral

by William Black
(Sacramento, California)

Mama raised me with manners
Taught me some respect
For Myself, My Elders
Even The Police.
Mostly I Had Been Taught
How To Have Respect For Women
To Mama That Mattered Most Of All.
I Doubt She Would Have Had To Say Much On That
Since I Had Learned That On My Own I Recall.
Seeing As How My Mama
Was Both Ma And Pa To Me
Daddy Turned Out To Be A Bad One
He Drank Too Much, Worked Too Much
We Never Did Do Anything As A Family
Spent The Weekends Running Around
With The Boys
Coming Home Smelling Like Cheap Booze
And Cheap Perfume
Mama Would Always Cry Herself To Sleep
While I Lie Awake In My Room
When He Would Finally Come Home
He'd Be So Drunk He Could Hardly See
Whenever He'd Finish Hitting On Mama
He Still Always Had Plenty Of Hurting
Left For Me
Mama Would Make Excuses For Him
Said He Once Had Been A Fine Gentle Man
Never Mattered Much
To Hear Her Say It
He Was Not Gentle Nor Good Nor A Man
Mama Did Her Best
Trying To Do Her Part
And Still Fill His Shoes
In Raisin' Me
Taught Me How To Ride My First Bike
How To Throw A Football
Helped Me With My Homework
Was Able To Do It All
When I Made Quarterback
She Was At Every Game
She Went To Every Boy Scout Meeting
Many Days She Spent Teaching Me
How To Safely Drive
And What Fish Liked What Kind Of Bait
She Played Old Records In The Basement
Teaching Me To Dance
And What To Do And Not To Do On A Date
I Was Never Disrespectful
I Never Raised My Voice
I Really Never Thanked Her Enough
Seems I Was Not Very Good When It Came To
Telling Her Just How Much She Was Loved
So When We Carried Mama In That Great
Big Heavy Box
And Everyone Tossed Flowers Inside
I Drug Over My Bike And My Ball
And My Boy Scout Shirt
And Tossed Them Over The Side
Then Sat Down And Crossed My Legs Indian Style
And I Cried, And I Cried
And I Cried

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