“Give us a loan of your hat !”
the WW II veteran asked his daughter
standing before him in graduate’s mortar
board and gown. The usher had drawn
her across the town hall foyer to her
parents after the graduation ceremony.
She had not expected to see her parents
here, she did not know it mattered.
Her nervous laugh in reply said nothing.
Her father mopped tears from his eyes
seeing in her only the second in his family
to gain a degree. But her survival instincts
drove her to speak cliches then leave.
Too many stomach churning nights at the
dinner table, jealous rages poured over her,
tirades against lazy students protesting
the Vietnam war – she was not one of them.
More rage and fury after she sat her
last exams, went to live with other
young folk, not staying under his roof.
After many school meetings for parents
her mother had told her a degree would
get her a good job – which it did. But
other parts of her life were lost, diminished.
A moment when peace could have
been started – not seen, just lost.