Mistakes I Have Made

By Susanna Childress

I used to sing to the windows
of my father’s
failing truck alongside
the peat-bog-voice of Van Morrison
a sweet philosophic jumble
I never have parsed out. My father,
steady as a flume, touched my arm
once and corrected me: the question
isn’t “What’s the sound
of one man clapping?” but one hand,
and even then I sang, bright
with defiance, didn’t (want to) get it, how
could I, hounded by this one man
clapping—so grand,
really, astounding—some guy
in a hooded Celtics sweatshirt standing
out in the street, in the aisles
of an empty chapel, ten acres of tobacco,
a grocery mart, a fire escape, clapping,
clapping, clapping, clapping.

Originally published by Every Day Poems.