Saturday, October 1, 2005

The Drive Home

The boy whistles half a song
he heard half on the car radio
when he was half listening
with the other ear to his Dad
who was half asleep already
after the long party where Mom
took his keys and pulled him the coat sleeve.

“Please please me” the boy finally sings
in the middle of Dad’s story about
the time when he was ten and he swung a bat
and hit the ball so hard that it sailed all
over the globe and came back  that
where the game was played and broke
an apartment window that made
the old women scream
and the young men cry,
“Please please me, oh yeah….”
the boy sings,
Dad smiles,
Mom drives,

“Oh yeah what? asks Dad,
rose cheeked and  slurring
as Mom fires up a cigarette,
with the electric lighter,
“Please you what oh yeah?”

The boy looks at Mom
who is looking  straight ahead
as they drive the country road
back to the city at night,
billboards  for A&P and Ford dealerships
passing by until the sky brightens with
street lights and neon that makes
the snow on the grown look grey,
full of suit.

“Oh yeah what?:” Dad asks again
and the boy coughs from the cigarette smoke,
thinking that the car no longer smells like new leather.

“ Please please me, oh yeah and I love you”
he sings, his voice cracking as he reaches
for a note that miles beyond  his grasp.

“…AND I LOVE YOU” Dad proclaims
and now looks out the window,
silent now and soon snoring
as the boy notices that
there are more houses passing by
and less wooded groves,

“Dad is snoring” he tells his Mom,
who was singing “Tennessee Waltz”
with Patti Page on the radio and
every violin player on the planet,

“Yes he is” she says, turning
into their drive way,
“he  loves even when he’s sleeping”.

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