Alan Walowitz is a Contributing Editor at Verse-Virtual, an Online Community Journal of Poetry. His chapbook, Exactly Like Love, was published by Osedax Press. His full-length book, The Story of the Milkman and Other Poems, is available from Truth Serum Press. Forthcoming from Arroyo Seco Press is In the Muddle of the Night, a chapbook written with poet Betsy Mars.
(October 27, 1962)
Whatever I felt I feared
and that night it was in the air.
My father wanted bread for supper
and I was sent out in the thick of it,
not knowing to go fast or slow,
and which might make it worse– .
my folks and their demands,
the big kids who hung all night in the Woods
ready to shake me down,
the Russian missiles aimed
right at my heart–and any moment now.
What did I ever do?– and what’s worse,
who’d be left to tell my tale
on this the night the world would end–
a boy sent on his own to Seligman’s
to buy a seeded rye–make sure it’s sliced thin?
I wouldn’t starve.
I had the bread,
the caraway stuck in my teeth,
the sourness to remind me of home,
where I’d never arrive.
Might as well have the taste
in my mouth of what little I’d been
while rolling through the heavens,
one moment tangling with dad,
the next wrestling with God– or, what’s worse,
maybe we’d all be blown to bits–
I hadn’t even said a word–
and I’d never get to feel anything at all.