Blood Money

I remember once when I was young –

my father took me with him to the market,

which seemed so sad to my eyes.

I had gently, tenderly picked up those brown eggs,

warm from feathers recent touch,

and put them in his basket.

And he told me: not to worry.

These would never become

the soft, chirruping chicks I followed round the yard in spring.

And I always wondered –

How did he know?

Is that part of the magic of being father,

to know who will grow up and who will not?

What did he see in me.

And when he exchanged those eggs that would never be anything

for the dollars they had folded in their pockets,

I did not understand why he would trade away mystery and life.

I almost did not take the bill he offered me.

And I remember wandering the stalls,

choosing so carefully, what I might get in return

for my father’s blood money.

I can’t remember what I bought.