Jane Cocke Perdue

You Should Have Told Me

Were you carefree?
Blond hair wind-ruffled
Bicycling downhill
After school.

Books basket-strapped
Nestled in neglect
Afternoon promises ahead
Full of play and sunshine.

You should have told me
Dreads and fears filled
Your ten-year-old brooding
Thoughts of failures!

Would you be chosen first
Or languish by the fence
With all the “leftovers”
Who had no winning talent?

Would your best friend play
With another buddy
Leaving you alone
With nothing and no one?

Would your teacher frown
Or smile when you came
Into the desk-lined classroom
To bend into assignments?

Would your parents lecture
About grades and study
And “responsibility”
Until your stomach hurt?

You should have told me, son.
All I saw was a carefree boy
Bike pedaling home from school
Happy to be a ten-year-old.

©Jane Cocke Perdue