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Updated on June 15, 2011
photo by philipb1383 on flickr
photo by philipb1383 on flickr

The water boils down my back and I am glad of it

I examine my shins with pleasant surprise

Finding only the faintest bruises

Perhaps thanks to that new health concoction

I turn off the water pleased with my discovery

The sound of the shower is replaced with sobs

I call to my son and jump from the tub

He is sitting on my bed dripping with tears

“I can’t get them back in, the little black things”

My buckwheat pillow lays open in his lap

A thousand tiny hulls surround him

Insurmountable to a three year old

“I didn’t mean to, I’m sorry, I’m sorry.”

I sweep the tears away with kisses

It’s ok little man, the vacuum will fix it

The sobbing is replaced with screams

Confused by the shower’s steam

The plastic guardian becomes the devil’s spawn

Filling the air with shrieking protests

Mop handle, then broom handle violently jab

delicately poke, prod and finally whack

The painful siren never ceases

Little hands cover little ears

I open doors and widows to no avail

Its only steam, you stupid machine

In a moment of clarity I take up the broom

This time to fan the steam away

Sweet golden silence and a child's smile reward me

I drag the vacuum from the closet, it fights me

A good yank and it slams me across the shins

The noise of this machine now fills the room

My daughter looks too tired to be irritated

My son now giddy, his sins quickly disappearing up the tube

We lay down finally in the much needed silence

She breaks it this time with her seven year old’s wisdom

“I feel there is something missing in our world.

Not the big world, our little world.

I miss the good old days with Dad.”

I kiss her much too beautiful face

Mommy wasn’t happy then honey

“But I was.”

Bruises, screams, tears and a thousand little black things

Crawl inside me


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    • Randy Behavior profile image

      Randy Behavior 6 years ago from Near the Ocean

      As you can see I never uploaded the rewrite...

    • profile image

      Luke Prater 6 years ago

      beautiful watching this one come to fruition, Randy. Gonna come join us at

      it's a whole new thing.. like having Facebook all to ourselves just for poetry.. rockin'

      lovin' ya

    • Randy Behavior profile image

      Randy Behavior 7 years ago from Near the Ocean

      Hi Claudia :) I put this up on the poetry circle for revision if you want to put your two cents in.

    • profile image

      Claudia Schönfeld 7 years ago

      a friend of mine just went through a divorce, having three boys and it's so difficult for them that dad is gone and they didn't understand but she had to save herself before she would drown and the boys with her...good and touching write randy

    • Randy Behavior profile image

      Randy Behavior 7 years ago from Near the Ocean

      You got me again...jerk.

    • profile image

      Doug Turner Jr. 7 years ago

      But seriously though, in all honesty -- I mean if I had to speak truly, deeply from the heart, no holds-barred, no punches pulled -- if I was to just lay it all out there on the line and be totally truthful without worrying about hurting your feelings, I would have to say... I really like this poem.

      (maniacal laughter fills my house)

    • Randy Behavior profile image

      Randy Behavior 7 years ago from Near the Ocean

      When I read "honestly though..." I thought it would be followed by "this just isn't up to par". I actually paused and told myself to be open to and learn from your criticism. But then you liked it, so I'm manning up for nothing. :) I know I shouldn't care so much what people think, but I do. Damn it, I do.

    • profile image

      Doug Turner Jr. 7 years ago

      Ouch. This one is like a punch to the gut. Honestly, though -- and you know how much I enjoy your playful and allegorical poems -- this is probably one of my top three favorites of yours. It's simply too raw and deep to be ignored. The power of words is demonstrated here; the power to change the reader's emotional outlook in a matter of seconds. Brutal and beautiful at the same time. Coming from divorced parents and having a young stepdaughter, I can definitely relate to this. Peace.

    • Randy Behavior profile image

      Randy Behavior 8 years ago from Near the Ocean

      Oh C.C. in this we share. My daughter called me from her Dad's yesterday. She had just watched a Christmas movie about family coming together for the holidays and it really upset her. Sometimes I feel like the most selfish woman in the world.

    • profile image

      ralwus 8 years ago

      This too shall pass dear woman. You are breaking my heart with this one as I relive the days my own children went through this. God how I hate myself at times for what I did to them! I will never overcome those little black things of my own creation.

    • Randy Behavior profile image

      Randy Behavior 8 years ago from Near the Ocean

      Thanks for commenting Cris. I suppose we all have little black things in common, even if they are different for all of us.

    • Cris A profile image

      Cris A 8 years ago from Manila, Philippines

      those little black things... but even they are not insurmountable. a good emotional read, touches the core or that thing where black things dwell.

    • Randy Behavior profile image

      Randy Behavior 8 years ago from Near the Ocean

      My children are wonderful little teachers. If I could be truly like them, I would be so much more evolved.

    • Enigmatic Me profile image

      8 years ago from East Coast Canada

      The truest words come from our smallest people.

      I am only now beginning to learn what it means to be a Dad, every day I see how little I know and how much I must learn.

      Our eyes and hearts see and feel at an adults level of complexity- filled with distance, comprehension and narrow-heartedness (brought on by years of experiences), while little hands, hearts and souls feel the moment with every ounce of their being with no heavy sheild of disdain or bittness to protect them. ;)

    • Randy Behavior profile image

      Randy Behavior 8 years ago from Near the Ocean

      Thanks for your words Tommy.

    • profile image

      Tommy 8 years ago

      Heart-wrenching and most definitely a poem.

    • Randy Behavior profile image

      Randy Behavior 8 years ago from Near the Ocean

      Ripped me to the core, she did. Thanks for your sweet compliment Candie.

    • Candie V profile image

      Candie V 8 years ago from Whereever there's wolves!! And Bikers!! Cummon Flash, We need an adventure!

      "Out of the mouths of babes..."

      Randy, you are one of the best at capturing emotion like this! Thank you!

    • Randy Behavior profile image

      Randy Behavior 8 years ago from Near the Ocean

      ok, I'll be lookin' for you.

    • profile image

      Am I dead, yet? 8 years ago

      Randy, now that is so nice of you to say--I feel the same way when you comment on my hubs as well! btw, I will not be writing poetry here anytime soon, for awhile here anyways--trying something else here on the hub.

      ttfn (ta ta for now =D)

    • Randy Behavior profile image

      Randy Behavior 8 years ago from Near the Ocean

      Hi Sandy! It was an emotion filled night. I am glad I was able to properly relate it. Thanks for commenting, I'm always thrilled to see you.

      Thanks abcd! Some times there is more power in the simple things.

    • Randy Behavior profile image

      Randy Behavior 8 years ago from Near the Ocean

      Thanks Dohn. I am glad you were able to see what I was feeling. I always appreciate your comments.

      Shamel what hurts the most is when you've caused the tears of a child. Thanks for coming by.

      Alekhouse I'm glad you enjoyed it. I am blessed with two amazing children who have no problem relating their feelings.

    • abcd1111 profile image

      abcd1111 8 years ago from Glen Ellyn, IL (Chicago suburb)

      Wow, this is powerful. Very good.

    • profile image

      Am I dead, yet? 8 years ago

      Randy, not only is this an emotional piece, it is alive--full of emotion, action--sights and the sounds are easily imaginable. It is as if I were watching a scene from a movie. Descriptions are on point, Randy. I love this.

    • alekhouse profile image

      Nancy Hinchliff 8 years ago from Essex Junction, Vermont

      This is so good, Randy...lots of sight and sounds and the feelings of small children coming through. Thanks for this lovely hub.

    • shamelabboush profile image

      shamelabboush 8 years ago

      What hurts the most is the tears of a child! Nothing can surmount that but still life goes on.

    • dohn121 profile image

      dohn121 8 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York

      If it heals you, Randy, it doesn't matter what it is. You should see some of my freewriting! In either case, I liked it. I visualized everything from the word "go."

    • Randy Behavior profile image

      Randy Behavior 8 years ago from Near the Ocean

      I'm not even sure if it qualifies as a poem. But it heals me to write. Thanks for coming by.

    • wesleycox profile image

      wesleycox 8 years ago from Back in Texas, at least until August 2012

      This is fabulous Randy Behavior, I enjoyed the story of this poem. Great work.


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