first days



first days 



my mother stood  

on the front porch 

of my childhood home 

and waved as i walked 

off to my first day 

of first grade. 


i was terrified. 


my father sits in 

a wheelchair  

in his room, staring 

at a wall. my footsteps 

echo as i walk toward 



the school is big and scary. 

lots of kids i didn’t know. 

some glare at me, but 

mostly i am ignored. 

the teacher seems nice 

but everything is new 

and different. 


a nurse gives me an update 

about my father’s medication, 

his care, how things work on a  

day-to-day basis. 

i sit with him as we wait 

for breakfast. 


at recess i made a friend. we  

would be friends until i 

move to orange county 

in the middle of fourth 



my father introduces 

me to Bill, his roommate. 

they are fast friends after 

two days.  my father 

says he will take care 

of Bill.  and the others. 


my mother asks me about 

first grade and i say  

it’s a little scary but 

i should be okay. 

i mention that i’d 

rather be home 

with her.  


and 51 years later  

my father says the same thing.\ 



Jack Henry


Jack Henry is a writer based in the wilds of California and Arizona.  Previous credits have included:  Red Fez, Smoking Typewriter, Piker Press, Razur Cuts, Dissident Voice, Fearless, Raven Cage, Rusty Truck, Ariel Chart, Fleas on the Dog, among others.  In late 2020 his next book, "Driving with Crazy" will be released by Punk Hostage Press.  Oh, and he edits/publishes Heroin Love Songs and



  1. beautiful, poignant and touching work. do not read much of it these days.

  2. that first journal is fraught with fear and doubt. what did our parents send us into? a hole, a hell or a hotbed of learning onto the road to tomorrow. who knows really.

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