Legs, Hips And Behind

we liked the priest because we saw him buy an 
ice cream cone once
we were 9 years old and when I went into
my friend’s house his mother was always
drinking with his father
they left the screen door open and listened
to music on the radio
his mother always had her dress pulled
high and her legs excited me
made me nervous and afraid but excited
those black high heels and those nylons —
even though she had buck teeth which
stuck out
when we were ten his father shot 
and killed himself with a bullet through
the head
but my friend and his mother went on
living in the house
and I used to see his mother going
up the hill to the market with her
shopping bag and I’d walk alongside
of her
quite concious of her legs and her 
hips and her behind
the way it all moved
and she always spoke nicely to me
and her son and I went to church and
confession together
and the priest lived in a place
behind the church
and a fat kind lady was always there
with him
when we went to visit
and it always seemed warm and
I didn’t even know exactly
that there was a worldwide
and the madness and sorrow were 
almost everywhere.

Charles Bukowski
This poem appeared in the following books: