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Lessons

There is no sky
only Ellis Island
the docked ship
rusting rising
falling as we wait
for my father

lost somewhere
in the crowd of DP's
in cast off babuskas
blackmarket khaki
the gray wool
that froze
before Moscow
and cracked

he left to buy
sausage and bread

has America
already taught him
his first lesson:
there is no sausage
in America

and what is the second:
that a polack
who traded an eye
for survival can
die in a compound
so close to New York
that even his son,
knowing nothing
of Cohan, Jolson,
Keeler, can hear
their syncopated
whispers, the silver
of their tapping
cakewalks.

 

©1999 John Guzlowski

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