Two Brothers Go Bowling

TWO BROTHERS GO BOWLING

You remind me of things I have forgotten,
of things that made a bigger impression
on you than me.

Like the time you were eight and I was ten
when we were downtown
at the bowling lanes
bowling game after game
all afternoon long
having a fine time,

Until we discovered it was not a single fee
but a fee for each game
and we had nowhere near enough money
to pay for the six games we had played.

I remember my surprise at the counter
when the man calculated our bill,
my surprise at not knowing and how it trapped us,
my panic rising as I showed the man
what little money we had.

I remember much less well my relief
when the man let us off
and even let us keep our bus fare to get home,

Which is where the event was sealed in memory for you
for we—you told me—were chastised
for our ignorance and irresponsibility.

You took to heart what to me was easily forgotten.

I had learned my lesson at that counter
from that man
that there was a fee for each game.

You registered the scolding that kept
our bowling adventure alive
to reappear in these words
fifty years later.

 

An author and historian, Patrick Wolfe lives in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada.

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