Dat Buggah, Ma Fadda

“So what da buggah said?”

ma madda asked afta

ma fadda dropped me off.

“About what?”

“About what?” she said,

mocking me. “How about

what he promised fo pay

me in child support?

About what?

How about what he owes

me for trowing one brick

tru my windshield?”

She sat at the table looking

out da window, her eyes

neva looking at mine.

I always hated wen she

brought him up.

Even yeas afta, wen

I tot she wen foget him

longtime already, she

go, out of da blue,

“Dat buggah was one

real piece of shit

I tell you.”

* * * * *

I finish reading. Nobody in the class says nothing. Mrs. Larsen is staring at me, mouth open, her eyes wide. Finally she says,

“Ah, well, ah,” she swallows. “That is quite a powerful poem, Peter. I, ah, love your use of pidgin. Rings so true. Vivid word choices.”

I love this poem. I always tell my students we never ask if a piece is true, but I have to restrain myself here. If it’s at all true, I . . .

I know what she’s thinking. She wants to ask me if it’s true. Go ahead, ask me. Come on.

Talk story

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