A Smile To Remember

A Smile To Remember :

We had goldfish and they circled around and around

in the bowl on the table near the heavy drapes

covering the picture window and

my mother, always smiling, wanting us all

to be happy, told me, 'be happy Henry!'

and she was right: it's better to be happy if you can

but my father continued to beat her and me several times a week while

raging inside his 6-foot-two frame because he couldn't

understand what was attacking him from within.

my mother, poor fish,

wanting to be happy, beaten two or three times a

week, telling me to be happy: 'Henry, smile!

why don't you ever smile?'

and then she would smile, to show me how, and it was the

saddest smile I ever saw

one day the goldfish died, all five of them,

they floated on the water, on their sides, their

eyes still open,

and when my father got home he threw them to the cat

there on the kitchen floor and we watched as my mother


Charles Bukowski

A Smile To Remember