Poem: Tell me a story by Chad Musick

Tell me a story

“Tell me of heroes,” she sings again.

Once upon a time,
a mother told a story, a father held a child,
a girl did her homework.
“No!” She laughs.

“Tell me of bravery.”

Once upon a time,
a woman a man an anybody—
said no, then loved the child anyway.
A woman sat on a bus.

“Tell me of strength.”

Once upon a time,
a heart beat in two chests—
a worst best day of life.
Someone admitted they had been wrong.

“Tell me of beauty.”

Once upon a time,
a smile showed missing teeth.
A broken voice sang love.

~

Tell me of heroes, I sing again.

“I knew a woman once,
worked three jobs to feed her kids.”
That was you, mom.
You fed the neighbor kids, too.

Tell me of bravery.

“I knew a woman once,
spent the whole night rocking in fear,
praying fever would break.”
That was you.
That was me.

Tell me of strength.

“I knew a woman once,
got up the day after her husband died. Made breakfast for her kids.”
Bacon, toast. You still sang,
poured us tear-salted juice.

Tell me of beauty.

“I knew a woman once.”
We still remember her.
You.


Chad Musick is a mathematician and writer living in Japan with his family. His work has been published in numerous places, including Mojave He[art] Review and forthcoming in Lonesome October.


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