I can explain why there are dozens
of dead earthworms on our drive.
I can explain, although it hurts,
why pets are so short lived.
I can try to explain,
without much success,
a grandmother you will
barely remember.
I can explain, or at least reiterate
what I have been taught,
the stories of death in the Bible.
But, no, child. I cannot explain
why your classmate died
with no mother living at home,
and a father’s bite marks on his arms.


I feel I should apologize for the brutality of the ending,
and I am sure this is not what Victoria had in mind when
asking for a “poem for a child” at dVerse,
but this is what happened 
last weekend.


Filed under Poetry, Poetry - Prompts

7 responses to “Explanations

  1. dont apologize…its a brutal reality…and one i found myself in often when i was a counselor…and i could not explain it either…

  2. Brutal indeed.. how children can be treated like this is beyond reason.. and I can understand why you wrote this… really chilling…

  3. We try so to protect our children from the monsters…don’t take candy from strangers, hold tight to mommy and daddy’s hand while crossing the street, stay close & hold tight to our hands in a store as someone might like to have a cute little boy/girl like you, and they won’t ever love you as much as we do. Yet to explain death at the hands of a parent, very tough indeed. Again, just need to reassure our kids how very much we love them, and though may be “bad” people, we will always do our very best to love and protect them.

  4. Yikes, this is so painful because it is so real. While we can escape for a while back into the bliss of childhood, eventually reality sneaks up and smacks us in the gut. I’m so sorry that you have to even try to explain this, Mark.

  5. You wrote this so well, and straight to the heart in a way a child could understand and as an adult appreciate. Don’t you dare be sorry for this – sometimes a poem for a child is just exactly this.

  6. It is almost as though you were a child telling the story. An adult would normally try to wrap up such a dreadful truth in euphemisms.

Some of what I write is true, some is fiction; most is merely possibility.

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