Mom prepares her teenaged son
for the tournament.
She packs his bags
and puts spending money
in his wallet.
She then takes another 20-dollar bill,
seals it in an envelope,
and writes “For Emergency Only”
in red ink.
She places this one at the bottom of his backpack.
The tournament went well,
there is still one dollar left in the wallet.
Mom is happy;
her son showed fiscal responsibility.
Until she learns that he bought pizza for the whole team,
and paid for it
by selling his hockey equipment
and dipping into his contingency fund.
“Why are you mad at me, Mom?
I balanced the budget, didn’t I?”
(Editor’s note: poet Shai Ben-Shalom, an Israeli-born biologist, examines current events in the Blacklock’s tradition each and every Sunday)