Before You Send Your Son to College

You know the day is coming
when you will have to go to these events
because your son is a high school junior
and he is talking about college
every night at the dinner table.

So, you go one evening
to a MEFA presentation,
you are given a brochure
and a free pen, you are so sleepy
through the first half
that the rest makes no sense at all, but
you don’t want to ask questions
because the topic might have been already covered,
you don’t want to look like a total fool
among Chinese parents seriously concerned
about their assets, equity in their homes,
things they had worked so hard to acquire,
all the vacations they skipped
in order to pool the money,
and you feel a kind of bad for them.

Oh, yes, the MEFA person is still there,
and you suddenly understand it all,
she looks like a tulip.
Some people look like their
cats others resemble horses or hippos,
not that you yourself weren’t compared
to a funny animal in the past,

but this person resembles the bright Dutch flower
with such accuracy that
it stings because you start thinking of tulips
in bloom on the day your mother died.

You turn to your right
and look at the person next to you,
he looks familiar too,
you don’t know if you are making it up now,
but he has features of Simo,
the dog who was fed by your father,
when your father died Simo refused to take food
from anybody else,
and was dead himself within three days.

This thought torments you more
because it isn’t covered with dust
of the time passed,
and you wonder how many people in the room
feel the same pain
for the money they will have to part with
before they get invited to the graduation party.