I Was On My Way to Walk Max and Heard This


I remember macaroni,
the end of the month,
the last week
when there was so little.

I made up
a song for the children.

The Macaroni Song!

Around the table
we would go,
laughing and singing.

Macaroni, Macaroni!

I can’t make the song
work now on the page,
just remember, we
laughed so hard.

My wife stood
over the grey metal
where the macaroni boiled.

She never sang the song.

It was always six o’clock.

The children would cry:

Sing the Macaroni Song!

And I would sing.

One night
I stole three tomatoes
from Mister Sagetti’s garden
and dropped them
into the curl of water.

My wife.
She loved me.
We worked so hard
to make a life.

Three tomatoes.
I still dream of them.
We were, what you
would call now, poor.

But when we danced
around the table,
my sons and my one
daughter in my hands
and sang the macaroni
song, God, in that moment,
we were happy.

And my wife at the grey stove
spooned the pale bare curls
onto each plate
and that one night
the thin threads
of three tomatoes.

I still dream of them.

Mister Sagetti, dead,
wherever you are
I want to say
this poem is for you.
I’m sorry I stole
your tomatoes.
I was poor and I
wanted, for my children,
a little more.

Some mornings when I sit in church, for awhile, I pray that I will just have ‘enough’.  As I gaze at the evening news, I know that I have so much ‘more’.  Anyway, I just always want to be a soft place where my adult children can fall…I always want to have ‘enough’ so that I can bless their lives with what they need…not necessarily what they want…the cars, the money, the tuition…I hope that I can give them what they need.

I treasured the poem that Patrick Lane shared on a CBC program while I was driving to yet another off leash park with Max.  I had to sit in the van upon arrival because for one, I required the artistic inspiration, but also, I needed to hear Lane’s own admission through the poem The Macaroni Song.

It’s Father’s Day and I remember that it was not always easy for my parents.  Month to month, they also found the pantry was drained and meals had to be simple.  I responded emotionally as I heard the poem read over CBC radio.  I feel the poem at a very deep place.

CBC Program With Patrick Lane

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