chocolate milk
poem by  
  keith  o'connor
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When you can't face the consequences of your actions just blame others. 
chocolate milk 

by the early 1950's 
my brothers 
had begun to earn money 
convenience foods such as 
hamburgs - hot dogs - chips 
soft drinks - and 
small glass bottles of chocolate milk 
began making their appearance 
in our otherwise 
poor household 
we had a small back porch 
at night 
the kitchen door left open 
provided enough light 
to see into the porch 
where we kept the ice box 
that kept our milk and meat cool 
during  the day 
stepping from the full sunlight 
of the back yard 
into the dark  porch 
was a blinding experience 
and in the summer there was the bonus 
experience of entering a dark oven 
there was no interior covering on it's walls 
and the horizontal 
2inch by 4inch stud braces 
were used as shelves 

my brothers would 
frequently leave small half sized 
half empty 
bottles of both 
white and chocolate milk 
sitting on the stud braces 
of the back porch 
it wasn't long before 
they soured in the summer heat 
I learned that 
sour white milk 
turned into white maggots 
sour chocolate milk 
turned into chocolate colourd maggots 
all my childhood friends 
knew about my brothers practice 
of leaving bottles in the back porch 
and many made a disgusted 
face highlighted  with an "ugh" 
as from a distance 
they looked through 
the half empty  glass bottles at  
moving  mass 
of thousands of small worms 
packed more tightly 
than canned sardines  

one sunny June day 
one of my childhood friends 
snuck into the back porch 
looking for bottles to steal 
and cash in for a small amount of money 
being in a hurry 
fearing over being caught 
at his thieving activity 
and wanting to spend 
as little time as possible 
in that dark oven 
he grabbed for the chocolate milk bottle 
added it to the pile against his chest 
swore as he felt a liquid 
poring over his chest and arm 

having completed his task 
he ran from the porch 
out into the yard 
through the alley 
out towards the street 

upon reaching the street 
he looked round 
to see if he was being observed 
feeling confident 
that he and his action 
had been completed 
in a covert fashion 
he now took the time 
to looked down at his loot 
to his horror 
his chest and arms 
were covered with 
chocolate colourd maggots 
dropping his loot 
at the end of the driveway 
not even taking the time 
to brush the maggots 
off himself 
he ran screaming down Water Street 
across busy Dalhousie Street 
screaming -  weaving wildly  
between oncoming cars and trucks 
having made it safely home 
then struggled desperately 
to get his front door open 
finally into the house  
screaming down the hall 
for his mother 

later in the afternoon 
when he got to school 
he had to provide the principal 
with his reason 
for being late 

not being of a very 
sophisticated nature 
he told his complete story 
to the school principle 
omitting nothing 
but  -   he emphatically 
blamed me for his lateness 
he reasoned that 
if I had washed out the bottle 
he wouldn't have spilled maggots 
over himself and 
he would not have been late 
for school 
the fact that 
it was his thieving nature 
that had gotten himself into trouble 
was and would continue 
to be for the rest of his life 
beyond his comprehension 

keith o'connor 
2001 Dec  15 
ottawa canada

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