Donal Mahoney

A Milkshake Brings Advice - Poem by Donal Mahoney

I bring a milkshake every other week
to an old man in a nursing home,
a refugee from Germany who paid me
50 cents to cut his grass when I was
a kid in Chicago after WWII.

I couldn’t understand him then
and I can’t understand him now
but 50 cents was big money
in 1950,10 candy bars,
10 popsicles or maybe 5 Cokes.
Or I could mix and match and trade
Pete the Collector for a baseball card.

Now my old neighbor sits in bed
and swigs his milkshake as I tell him
that I drove by his house the other day
and the new owners have planted
roses and lilies everywhere.
Every color imaginable.
A botanical garden in bloom.
He blinks at me, smiles
and takes a final swig.

Because of the language problem
we never talk about anything
except the house he will never
see again and then marvel that
he will turn 100 soon, quite a feat.
He smiles at that as well.

But he doesn’t smile when I get up
to leave and offers me advice
in the thunder of his accent:
“Someone had better stop ISIS now.
When I was a kid in Berlin, no one
stopped Hitler the bastard then.'

Topic(s) of this poem: old age , social comment, warfare

Comments about A Milkshake Brings Advice by Donal Mahoney

  • Eugene Levich (11/16/2015 2:07:00 PM)

    Good advice! Would that he had a simple prescription for how to do so. (Report) Reply

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Poem Submitted: Monday, November 16, 2015

Poem Edited: Friday, May 20, 2016

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