Not the lone glory of an orange
basking in Depression’s dusk—
its fluted bowl of purple glass
Nor the fall ways of amber
Leaves burned by roadside
curling smoke’s sun-lit sash
Not tree-lined streets
rabid leaves’ raspy voices
whirling giddy in the wind—
...in none of these
But in the moments I filled with fixing
a lamp shade
painting this place
to a stern perfection
...I thought of you
ordering the tyranny of me
the glass of me
the concrete conscience
I must be right! Mustn’t I?
The religion of our lives
Driving through Sundays with Polkas blaring
feeding the ducks
and a roast at noon
Waffles and TV later
Lassie and You Asked For It
Wiping my mouth on a Sunday sleeve
I asked for it, alright
He came and went
to the smell of Ice Blue Aqua Velva
He came and went larger than life and first on the scene
to hurricanes, fires, muggings, and races
and of course—THE SHOP!
in an amazing array of uniforms and vehicles
Ambulances, wreckers, pickups, and police cars
He was terrifying! Wonderful!
We would love at a pained distance
His cabinet in the cellar was always locked
But now, just suppose—
if a kid were to haul on its handles...
supposedly—the sheet metal would heave and roar
with the thunder of him!
And those late nights
those harsh ****** lights
lidded hundred watt cones
in the spotlight of THERE
where I wasn’t
in the odor of oils too noxious to dare
beyond the girlish shadows—
he cleaned his guns
I waited and watched where everything seemed
It seems—he just pushed her against a wall!
I step from girlhood
with my two-cents worth
and it seems I will not be Queen for a Day!
I take my vows!
I swear I will not scrape wax
from the corner of the kitchen floor with a knife!
I have waited. I have watched
the routines of his mornings
He’s brushing his teeth; he’s combing his hair
he’s tying his shoes while he chats with the cat
I can tell you the creak of the stairs
and the sound of his footsteps rounding the house
...the routine of his return at supper
the routine of anger
My routine of being late—
and as good as dead
Praying he wouldn’t notice the mud
Praying for the epiphany of his good mood
when the TV and me--
wouldn’t be blamed for the downfall of the nation
We were not Polish, but my Dad's French-Canadian family lived in a Polish community. Thus, the fused culture and all the happy, Sunday Polka music.
Lassie, You Asked For It, and Queen For a Day were popular TV programs of the 1950s.