For Willie, with love

November 03, 1995|By Maria Garriott

The first time I met Willie

he hit my four-year-old son.

My boy ran into my arms,

blood tracking down his face.

Willie skulked away.

Everyone calls him Pig

but I make my children call him

Willie, trying to wrap some dignity

around his cringing frame.

He speaks softly, not expecting

to be heard. He has already

put boards over his windows,

wise to hurricanes.

He lives with neither parent,

there is a grandmother, although

I have never met her.

Willie often comes to play,

to borrow our battered bikes

or skates or basketball.

My house is Disneyland,

an orgy of toys and children,

and a real king, too.

We made cookies yesterday.

''Let me put the powder in,''

he asked, stirring wildly.

Carefully, he wrapped his

treasures and put them in his torn parka.

Willie, hold out your hands; I will

fill them

so you have something

before you realize school is futile

and your teachers, like grandma,

are tired;

before the mirage of a basketball

scholarship evaporates, leaving sand in your

teeth;

before you realize you are only Pig

but crack makes you a god.

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