Tuesday's Child Tuesday’s child is full of grace. —from a nursery rhyme You can’t trust words, even the quietest, To catch the calm of orchids in the sun: Soft yellows, centers flecks of pink and rose, Transfixed by light in perfect equipoise. Orchids, I mean, that now don’t look their best, That look unbowed but now the least bit wan Like children whom adults have long ill used, Like the nine-year-old—small, silent—years ago— I saw, spending his childhood locked inside The nearby School for Boys. The sun’s flood tide Poured down that Tuesday morning he refused To answer, told a guard his wordless no— The guard who’d flung him, sleeping, into midair, From bed to impact with the floor of the dorm, Who’d laughed until the other boys became Tormentors too, who’d asked his goddamn name. Glory—through high, thick windows—summer glare— Shone in his wide child’s eyes and held him firm.
Charles Hughes has published two books of poems, The Evening Sky (2020) and Cave Art (2014), both from Wiseblood Books. His poems have appeared in the Alabama Literary Review, America, The Christian Century, the Iron Horse Literary Review, Literary Matters, the Saint Katherine Review, and elsewhere. He worked for over 30 years as a lawyer and lives in the Chicago area with his wife.
A poignant poem indeed. Readers need to be aware that Boarding School Survival Syndrome is on a par with PTSD.