Perihelion: An Online Journal of Poetry and Mayhem
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Hayan Charara

23,627 MILES

The note his fifth graders
carried home he did not
think twice about.

Your parents must know
what you’ve done.
They cheated

on an exam testing
their knowledge
of the universe—

stars, the solar system,
Jupiter’s weight, Black Holes,
comets, E=mc2.

What does a ten year old
do with relativity? Or
the concept of infinity,

or a theory of everything?
And if the Big Bang and every
instant since turned out

to be a single everlasting
moment under the sun—
so what?

Was he making of them
an example? Teaching them
a lesson? Yes he was,

and as there was right
there was wrong—
this to a wife, a dog, a lawn

mowed on Saturdays,
a house nearly paid for
he went home sure of,

and in a comfortable chair
he shook his head at the chaos
on the five o’clock news,

which that night and every night
thereafter never mentioned
a father striking a son

across the face for not knowing
the distance between
the earth and moon.