Sarah Speaks, 1957
by Roy White
You do not love cookies,
you love people, and don’t always be
talling them, either!
What did the girl imagine I would say,
with her I looove your cookies, great-grandma,
thrusting her bare enjoyment out at me
like a challenge?
These are Knut’s girls—Magnus’s Knut, I mean—
not evil, no, but so loose, so exposed,
as though they had no Enemy, as though
discipline and restraint were not our armorr.
Oh, it’s not just the children; one of Olaf’s
sons has married a woman, I dare not say
a lady, who wears her hair loose like a heathen.
I told her, but what good is telling?
never saw father, brother, sister laid
beneath one stone, Ma marrying the worthless
hired man. They never stayed behind
to raise the kids alone when a husband
followed his dreams and schemes to the capital,
scrimping and toiling while he had a handout
for every Indian and wastrel with
a sad story.
Keep your eye on your work, and if a wave
of sweetness overtakes you, don’t let on.
What the Adversary doesn’t know you love
he may not think to steal.