And When Lilacs Bloom There Will Be Time Enough for Both Anger and Light

Photograph by Jose Padua
After dinner one evening my daughter
asks, “What if I grow up to have anger
issues?” It feels like a summer night
with the warm weather newly arrived
and it’s a difficult age and especially
hard time to be nine. I remember
at that age neurotically worrying
about every disease I might possibly
have, but I never worried about
anger issues because back then
we rarely used the word “issues”
that way and I was simply concerned
if one day I might go “crazy,” which
was the word back then that covered
everything that sent a person to what
we called “the funny farm,” which didn’t
sound all that bad a place to be, because
at least you got to laugh, and I wondered
if more than anything else that’s what
made a person crazy, that ability,
that tendency, that insurmountable
predilection for laughing at the slightest
nudge of elbow or brain during even
the most serious and solemn occasions.
And my answer to my daughter is
“No, you won’t, because sometimes
there are things you need get angry about
and anger itself is not the issue.” Then
my daughter, my wife, my son, and
I go out back in this, the hour of lilacs,
to walk upon the grass, the clover,
everything that issues forth from
underneath damp ground in the noble
angry effort to reach the light.

-Jose Padua

Photograph by Jose Padua


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