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How Good is Good Enough

Text of Poem

He must have read whatever signs
tramps leave on gateposts, a hot
June morning, muggy, mud from
last night’s rain on his shoes,
he knocked at the back door.
Mother promised him food— she always
did. Younger than most, whiskers,
ragged coat but solid shoes
laced with twine, he lounged
against the platform where three cans
waited for the milk hauler.
We circled him like puppies around
a strange dog. Mother called,
I took the tray, bacon, scrambled eggs,
coffee with cream and sugar, toast,
even a napkin. He looked, shrugged,
‘‘If I ain’t good enough to come
in the house, I ain’t good enough
to eat your food.’’ Pushed away
from the platform, took strong steps
to the road. Scared, confused,
I gave the tray to Mother. With tight lips
and angry eyes she told me
to scrape it in the dog dish.
But I found enough good in
myself to share it with Carlo.

First Line
He must have read whatever signs
Original Pub Location
Original Publication Date
Original Citation
Poetry Now 6.4 Issue 34(1982) 37.
Complete Poems
Word Count
Poetic Form
Bibliographic Notes

Complete lists 1981 initial publication date. HFP Box 58 Pub Log has title "How Good Is Enough"