And It Was Early Spring in the Hour of Insects

Photograph by Jose Padua
On the night before my daughter’s
first soccer game of the season
I offer her some practical instruction
and advise her that if you kick the ball
into the wrong goal and one of your
teammates turns toward you just say,
“What choo lookin’ at?”
and glare at your teammate
with calm intensity
since it’s not really a question.
I tell her there should be
a level feeling in your throat
when you say it,
and your voice shouldn’t rise toward the end,
because you’re saying it in a way
that doesn’t beg for a response
and if you say it just right
any attempt at answering it
will immediately be followed
by a sense of regret.
Although she know I’m half joking,
she knows there’s another half of me that’s not,
and I can tell from the brief
spell of silence on her face
that’s she’s far from being over
that stage in life
when every question needs an answer
but one day she’ll know
that when you’re old enough,
you learn to stop asking for answers
from the ill-informed,
the insecure, or anyone whose knowledge
of the world is obtained
by being afraid of it.
Then we walk toward the soccer fields
at the edge of town
on the grounds of what used to be
the old Avtex Fiber plant,
breathing in the fresh air and
hearing the buzzing
of the early evening’s first insects
a few hours before dark.

-Jose Padua

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