First Job 1928

Forget father, you think. What is he but a snapped
pencil. A hole in your pocket. You’re old enough 
to leave Holy Cross, where you punched the good 
Christian brother who poked you in the chest.  
You can drive a car. Change a tire. Prod the dead 

spark of wires, looking for something to flare.
Think of your son writing this who hasn’t been born.
Think of the daughter who will carry your eyes
and the cracked link of inheritance that will break
her mind. Think how lucky you are, good looking,

sad eyed, short tempered, up to intricate tasks,
your wife-to-be living down Tenth Avenue,
her readiness muffled by traffic, her name
spelled out in a vestibule. The breeze off the river, 
its hint of future gone bad, now just a tart 

taste that hovers in your speech.  You learn
piquant, brusque. There’s a man you know  
needs a helping hand. His store front sign says so.
On the corner an old woman selling flowers
you can hardly name, this day the world is yours.
John Allman | Mudlark No. 37
Contents | Happy Days