A Smile To Remember

we had goldfish and they circled around and around
in the bowl on the table near the heavy drapes
covering the picture window and
my mother, always smiling, wanting us all
to be happy, told me, 'be happy Henry!'
and she was right: it's better to be happy if you
can
but my father continued to beat her and me several times a week while
raging inside his 6-foot-two frame because he couldn't
understand what was attacking him from within.

my mother, poor fish,
wanting to be happy, beaten two or three times a
week, telling me to be happy: 'Henry, smile!
why don't you ever smile?'

and then she would smile, to show me how, and it was the
saddest smile I ever saw

one day the goldfish died, all five of them,
they floated on the water, on their sides, their
eyes still open,
and when my father got home he threw them to the cat
there on the kitchen floor and we watched as my mother
smiled

by Charles Bukowski

Comments (8)

It's funny how you can tell in a line or two that you have found a new poet who is sure to pluck your heart-strings like you're his favorite violin and have been all his life. Then you see that he has only one poem registered on this site and THAT is NOT funny. I want more and I want it now, so let's walk a parade of protest to the headquarters of PoemHunter and demand more poems by him... if he hasn't met some untimely death
On an April day! Thanks for sharing.
This poem shows a lot of promise, but where is the poet's other work? A total of one poem submitted, and that one more than 13 years ago. He probably never logs in here anymore, and will never know that this poem was chosen as poem of the day.
All that we see and miss has been brought out so beautifully here. Only a sensitive and skilled poet can do it. Loved reading it. Thank you for sharing.
The beauty, mystery and wonder of nature is a constant inspiration. This is a true poet who knows how to use imagery and a nuanced message.
See More