Three poems


JOLTIN’ JOE

they took his dad’s boat away

after Pearl, when everybody from Seattle

to San Diego was running scared

no wops in San Fran Bay, can’t trust

nobody not even the fisherman whose

kid turned out to be the best slugger

alive so Giuseppe you stay at home

nights don’t go too far don’t try

anything you can dream of Sicily if you want that’s okay

but keep your nose clean and Joe

you keep swingin’ for the fences just

in khakis now feel that cool

Hawaii sand have a beer live it

up as much as any soldier

boy can don’t fret over

Monte Cassino up in smoke

typhus in the Napoli water

your papa showing his papers

back in the batting cage Mister

Fifty-Six Hit Streak don’t

complain we are all in cages

THUMBLING

At first, he exulted in his smallness

and the chances it gave for mischief.

A speck of a Hermes, a pocket Anansi,

he made off with coins and secrets –

spelunking through keyholes, abseiling

down table legs, dancing the occasional

jig in a dozing sow’s ear. Nothing

was unreachable. At night, beside

the fire, he would tell his parent