I don’t remember the first time I was
left alone in the house. The house was
a generic term used for whatever
set of walls contained our possessions
as, for sure, it was an apartment, or
rather, a series of apartments where
somehow the rent was paid.
It was a different time which I’ve italicized
so any serious reader of poetry
may forgive me. You could walk
the snow-filled streets of central New York
at any age and, as long as you had the stamina –
Cross them to where the hill was with
your plastic sled in hand ready for gravity
to take you on all the adventures
you could afford. This elementary school trust
was born of convenience rather than
rite of passage. My mother had to work
and there was no system of eyes in place
to monitor the bread I was left with.
I remember once wanting to throw
a surprise birthday party for my mother.
The whole plan was to have my uncle
pay for a pizza on which they spelled
Mom in pepperoni. (I hadn’t yet discovered
vegetarianism and had never heard
the word kosher.)
When she came home neither the pizza
nor my uncle had arrived so I simply
yelled surprise! as she walked into
the empty room wondering what
exactly the surprise was. Joseph was
never truly alone in Potiphar’s house.
His handsome features worked against him
when lonely Mrs. Potiphar entered the room.
This trust was never violated but
it took a while before Joseph reaped
the rewards he earned for not forgetting
God was with him.