“Like ants,” he said, “they look”
he sees them mornings from his
kitchen table in the yellow house
off Kingsland Street on Brookdale.
He watches their cars stop in traffic.
The hurried bodies pack up and depart
buzz and amble to the corner
wait for traffic to break at Roche.
Hordes would cross, cars would creep,
it was almost better than television.
Turn your feet sideways to step
up the half-size attic stairs
and even at that, a child’s foot
would overhang and a ladder’s rung
seemed gigantic to the tiny step
on up those stairs to where my Dad worked
one day and actually let me tag along
and stay out of the way
to play in the dust and the dirt.
Up in that attic Mitch’s old foot locker
held the stories
long-forgotten and scribbled
by much younger men
discovered six decades after the war
the visions of the Panama Canal
and the wonder of the locks;
and the Marines’ field day shooting
Zeros from the skies over the jungles
of Guadalcanal and the Fijis;
and the loneliness
came alive with the longing for
the Charms Candy factory in Bloomfield,
and the pigeon lofts of home.
In August the young soldier
wrote his best friend
at home the war would be over soon
and he’d be home by Christmas.
But what none
of them knew
was how many more years
it would be
before he again saw his mom,
apple pie, his gal,
or the pigeon loft he left behind.
- By Anthony Buccino
from SIXTEEN INCHES ON CENTER
Copyright © 2010 by Anthony Buccino