Louise Marie DelSanto
Remembrance Of Fifties - Poem by Louise Marie DelSanto
At the end of the week, some drinking,
his best friend, and my mother waiting
by the top of the stairs with a basin.
We all learned our way around anger
Strangers told us details;
his mother died young, five grown
sons, a grandmother who favored him,
and wearing some rich kid's old shoes.
I came to know structure, rough silence.
He seemed so stern and hard, bellowing
my name, how he wanted things, hands
we all knew, the sound of a belt buckle
and the way darkeness sheltered pain.
In the kitchen once, we sat quietly
while he cut up a melon and gave us
each one slice.
My sister never wanted any.
He never talked about his life much,
the way the Navy took him places,
warm oceans, and Hawaii during a war,
how his first baby died at birth, and his
small dog eaten by cellar rats.
Second floor tenement, flowered chintz durtains
swaying back and forth in Summer, my nose
pressed up against the screen. My mother
making tomato and mayonnaise sandwiches
Only a few channels on television then.
The Mouseketeers were dancing at five,
and my sister and I would be sitting
on the cold linoleum floor, waiting.
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