Mom, do you remember that last picnic at Davey’s Lake?
Me, Frankie, you and Grandma, and Dad
In his baggy khaki shorts and white undershirt,
Driving that long, hot ride from the Bronx,
Taking the best tables under the shade trees,
While he set up the grill with cigarette clenched in hand,
To cook breakfast.
He was a real father in that moment.
We had sizzling peppers and eggs and bacon
Fried in olive oil in heavy cast iron pans,
And boiling hot coffee from the dented tin percolator- our blood,
I drank coffee since forever.
Frankie was little- maybe six-seven,
With his little-man’s haircut
And wet towel wrapped around his baby waist,
He was suffering already.
I was a skinny teenager- too, too skinny,
Couldn’t help myself. It was the suffering too.
Grandma in her housedress with her bun, her wine,
Her smile, her stockings rolled-down over swollen knees.
Me and Frankie stayed in the water under the sprinklers
All day. All day. Bobbing up and down until we were pruney,
Imagination running wild, creating, sharing magical pipe-dreams,
We were a real brother and sister in that moment.
And you, beautiful with gold hoop earrings, curly black hair, red lips,
Were you. Were always you.
And you were a real mother in that moment.
Mom, looking back now, how I wish you could be here with me,
And real again,
In this one.

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