What Did I Hear in My Parents’ Voices…

…that pulled at me?

While younger brothers slept

in adjoining beds,

I, seven, crept close

to the family-room door,

listened to my parents

revealing their fears,

mostly about bills and jobs,


Mom lamenting how Dad was

loose with money,

how he’d even gone and bought

a new Plymouth

without consulting her,

that his ruptured disk

threatened his career,


Dad reminding her how he

was a club pro now,

had designed golf courses,

and although in pain,

had a bright future,

the surgeon had said.


Sometimes they’d realize

that I was close by

and Mom would deride me,

call me “Mr. Big Ears”

and order me back to bed,

where in the dark I

wrestled with their fears.


Is depression

the price for

learning empathy?


Published by


I've been writing mostly poetry for many years and have gotten a number of works accepted in publications and anthologies. I'm most interested in communicating with poets for whom craft is a high priority. I enjoy finding and commenting on poetic gems in other people's work. For my own work, I welcome polite comments, whether positive or critical.

4 thoughts on “What Did I Hear in My Parents’ Voices…”

  1. “where in the dark I / wrestled with their fears” – love this! Just beautifully said, and the perfect lead-in to your final stanza: darkness and fears are followed by depression, and the unknown of the darkness and of fear leads to the unexpected final lines, not Final at all but – a query. Wow, how to tie together the end of a poem, and not in a neat package but a provocative one!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. i’m grateful for your kind and perceptive comments. they make me consider even more carefully the situation i and my parents were in. it would’ve saved me so many hours of worry if i had never heard them talking. but it was a small house. what could they have done? and the fact that i took on their fears at seven years old, was that because of something within me, or was it a situation that would have drawn in any child? i don’t know. but thanks so much for the opportunity to think all of this through more thoroughly.

      Liked by 1 person

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