My twelve-year-old takes a census of items
on the dinner table. If there are eight slices of pizza
he knows four of them are his.
He’ll ask questions like is one of those mine
as he’s lost count somewhere mid-slice three.
He’s making plans for the rest of his meal
with an eye towards lunch tomorrow.
The same applies to a bowl of tater tots or
slices of garlic bread.
This is how he invests his resources for the future
and we can only hope this practice leads to him
having enough to buy his own home someday
or at least keep his refrigerator stocked.
Of course, his mother and I won’t last forever
so sometimes I stretch my arm across
the dinner table, and say in my wisest
most caring voice, someday son, all of this
will be yours referring to the remainder of
the butter-less, oilless, sauceless pasta which
he’s been eyeing since he came out of the womb.
Where is his mother in all this, you may ask.
Is her lot not considered when dividing the
evening bounty? Or does she, like the daughters
of Zelophehad, have to make a special case to
get what’s hers? By preference, she mines for the
portions of manna without gluten and is always
well taken care of in the accounting.
All parents die in the desert pushing our children
to take at least a few steps more than we did.
You can’t cross all the rivers in one lifetime.