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Attention Defecit

it’s in her dna

this theme she won’t let go

strands of knitting

our kitten batting a dead cockroach

over the floor until

it goes skitting, dry with one leg

                                        falling off

under the piano


grandmother talking on the telephone

to her daughter who is explaining that the school

psychologist recommended ritalin for nanette

as she has the potential to be

a very talented student

                                        but can’t concentrate

in class     kitten now claw-scratching up my

                                        favorite armchair


i, watching aghast as she teases out strands of fabric

grandmother arguing that these chemicals

stunt growth, that the attention deficit is quite

normal     her over-active mind needing more


than a well mannered lick at a

                                        bowl of cream


the educational system being about as boring

as a microscopic description of feelers, thorax and

other insect parts, interjecting compassionately let the

child      develop at her own    pace

                                        getting angry now

as her daughter repeats in a loud voice but you’re not

listening to me at all    i told you we’re just thinking about

the psychologist’s point of view      the kitten’s

older brother tearing up the furniture out of some destructive



until grandmother bangs down the phone

                                        eyes full of tears

the body of the cockroach deep under the piano

gathering dust and cat hair

    for years until nanette, refusing

to practice her scales, goes upstairs       to watch

                             lady gaga      on the computer

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© Johnmichael Simon



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