Nothing Much, Is It?

Family secrets. Messy conversations. Gossip. So much talking takes on a life of its own. I don’t like any of it. I try to stay away from it.


I wish she hadn’t told me.
But now that she has,
I can’t pretend she hasn’t.
I will have to tell Grace and Uncle Timmy.
Then of course Grace will have to talk to Isabel
and she’ll tell Frank. It’s only right, of course –
He is her brother. Frank will speak to Marguerite
and somehow she’ll explain it to the children.
What they’ll make of it I don’t know.

Things being as they are,
regardless how much you try to hold it in,
somebody’ll slip sooner or later,
could even be me,
say something at school or work
The teacher, the clerk, the boss, will get to hearing
so it doesn’t matter, Miss Taylor, Mrs. Fritz, Mr. Goldstone,
one or another of them will tell
a husband, boyfriend, sister, cousin,
could be any of them or all of them
somebody will talk about it
in front of the tellers at the bank,
the cleaning lady will just happen to overhear,
the postman, the girl at the bakery,
and our family business will be all over town.
There won’t be an ear of corn that hasn’t taken it in,
much less our neighbors.
Just gossip, they’ll say,
shrugging their shoulders,
knowing they’re in the wrong,
excusing themselves
and I’ll say nothing,
because I’m not supposed to hear,
but I do say. I say,
What if it were about you?


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