“Just think before you speak,” my Dad would say,
exasperated with my babbling,
since he was all for logic and the way
of cool, deliberate, careful reasoning.
“He walks and talks and wastes his time,” once wrote
my fourth-grade teacher on my year-end card,
which got me sent, a tie around my throat,
to private school, where discipline was hard.
But still my adolescent way was rash,
impulsive and impromptu and half-assed,
the teenage way—indecorous and brash,
yet, buckled down, my manner changed at last,
and I became reserved and reticent,
a way that I now work to circumvent.