Under the Bridge
it must have been the summer of 1955
in Fukuoka, Japan. I was just six.
my father was the American consul in the city.
my mother was taking me with her
on her morning rounds. our last call
at noon was to a deserted area
in a part of the city unfamiliar to me.
we parked off the road in a dirt lot
and walked down a crooked path
to the edge of a small river.
there was broken concrete lying around
in the glaring hot sun. I asked
my mother what we were doing. She said
we were visiting someone she knew
who lived under the bridge.
we got down into the shade
under the bridge. my mother called.
she walked around and called some more.
she was in a summer dress and proper
shoes. She was calling out in Japanese.
she turned to me and said in English:
“they must be out.” we could see some clothes
lying in heaps and pans and stuff
in a makeshift area under the bridge.
as we were leaving, my mother put down
a see-through plastic bag of hard candy,
the kind you suck and crack your teeth on.
she left the candy by one of the pans.
we made our way back up the river bank
up to the car and drove off
into our life full of food and things to do.
the consul’s wife could not solve their hunger
but she could leave a little bit of sweetness
and, at the same time, teach her son
that not everyone had enough to eat.
Q.R.Quasar (aka David Martin ) is a poet, playwright, novelist & scholar/translator of Arabic & Persian poetry & philosophy (Ph.D., UCLA). His books are available from Global Scholarly Publications
(www.gsp-books.org.): Watching the Universe Die, The Universe in Bloom, Ocean of Suns, Buddha Time, etc. Q.R.Quasar lives in Montgomery County, MD.
These poems were recognized at the 2019 WFD Poetry Competition