Hero Factor

One luminous, still, summer day,
you said it was perfect to paint the shutters.
To my delight you let me, even though mom said
only use my brothers. Well into the job,
I beamed brighter than the sun’s rays
when you said my work was outstanding.
That day, I thought I could be
a professional house painter.

A very different summer day was
imbued with my own heavy countenance.
My small shoulders drooped with the weight
of what I’d witnessed.
My opened, young eyes stung as
the early light seeped into the dew-kissed morning;
Memories played
of your raucous argument with Grandmama the night before;
I learned it would be hours more
‘til mommy and daddy would come to collect us, and,
Tears of sadness flowed because
your hero status was no longer so nosebleed high.

That day, Granddaddy, you were almost
just a man.

© 2010 Shari Lynne Smothers

Prompt: #117 Create a Hinge, by guest celebrity poet, Zachary Schomburg, at Read Write Poem. Write a missive (letter) to a departed loved one in the first part of the poem. Then write a confession unrelated to the missive.

UPDATE: Read the great contributions to this prompt at get your poem on #117.
Read Write Poem

About Shari Smothers

Welcome to Telling Stories, my creative writing space. My name is Shari Smothers. Poems help me to understand the world and to explain my world to others. They're my premier story telling tools. There's more to come, so please share with me through reading, commenting, emailing. Learn more about Shari here. And do come again!

14 thoughts on “Hero Factor

  1. Pamela, you're too kind. I don't know how much help I could be, since my writing comes in waves really. Sometimes I'm pulling from stores, which is not nearly so impressive, but there it is.

  2. Powerful indeed. Thanks so much for the assessment! And thanks for stopping by.

  3. Experiences that impose sober reflection at an early age can be traumatic in the moment. Thankfully, though, these events soften with age and understanding. Thanks so much for reading and sharing your thoughts.

  4. I really related to the sense in this poem of having a “hero” drop a few notches in your esteem, and how painful that can be. Thank you for sharing it! I thought you did a great job with the prompt.

  5. (Third comment a charm I hope.)

    Your poems, this one too, have a real sense of home, like sitting at table with you, like just that close. Generous, I think! No matter any one specific, this is the voice beneath the voice, and it is clear and brings good welcome to the reader here. Thank you Shari.

  6. It seems like your whole world is changed forever when infused with some sober truths at an early age, doesn't it? It was my pleasure to share. Thanks so much for reading it, and for sharing your thoughts.

  7. Thanks so much Neil, for the gracious complement. My intent in sharing is to use my voice to engage readers. It's gratifying to know that you received it as a welcome. Thank you for that.

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