ebbortz

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

my mother knew how to hide the red diapers

my brother and i
were born into
from the peeled paint
on moore street in toledo
the tracks were well covered
even if i still had my ear
up against the victrola
listening to sweet lorraine
     my step-dad's favorite song
paul robeson
the weavers
yiddish freiheit
songs of my father's lincoln brigade
my mother fully acknowledging
the justice and injustice around us
even if she said that
sonofabitch lawyer
who settled
my parents' divorce
wasn't a good representative
of the brotherhood
of man
of woman
of children

the roll-top desk
in the living room
was my place
to hide the dark
and bright drawings
of an eight-year-old
the desk coming to us
from the estate of a noble doctor
who had to go underground
to escape the mccarthy committee
this desk had the temperament
and perseverance
for life
from the margins
into our own self-acceptance

and of course
everyone knew better
than to ask us
the name
of the good doctor
     we never give up names

--- e b bortz

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