Saturday, March 06, 2010

Bob and Doris

Bob and Doris

I cut Dad’s hair today.
He coached me.
This is still new for him-
needing help.

He was Special Ops during the War.
Solved the rape and murder
of a French woman. The guilty U.S.
soldiers shamed their uniforms.
Dad damn near killed a drunk in his own squad
whose stupidity nearly doomed them all,
but cooler heads prevailed, stopped the fight.
The war over, his fluent German meant
a year in an enemy town.
Billeted in a castle,
he helped them rebuild
and rid themselves of Nazis.

Mom didn’t know him when he rang
her doorbell two years after he shipped out.
She held her toddler, Robert Jr.,
and said “Yes, can I help you?”
when she opened the door.
Dad was heavier, older, weary-
not the smooth-cheeked,
scrawny tennis player she’d married.
That young man died in Europe.
They had three more babies.
Two jobs for Dad. Weekends
he wore a gun again.
Patrolled NYC docks for Jimmy Sullivan
who moved him from dock to lonely dock when Dad
caught thieves. Dangerous nights in the oily salt air lasted through the decade shocked by death.

A gentle Dad let
me trim his wispy hair today.
Released from my ministrations,
leaning on two metal canes,
he headed for my Mom,
who was in bed,
as she always is now.
Dad grinned like a boy-
all spruced-up.
Sparkling blue eyes said “look at me.”
Weak brown eyes saw her handsome husband,
and with a smile as fresh as twenty,
she said “You look fine.”
And I sat down to write a poem.

Nonnie Augustine October 23, 2005

Mom died on May 5, 2006
Dad died on March 3, 2010

Tuesday, March 02, 2010


On my two-top young lovers gaze

at each other and talk, plan, share

her linguini, his prime rib. He butters

her bread and she murmurs, purrs.

Businessmen on per diems

pay for crass stares at my legs,

chest, hips with twenty percent tips.

Our king, the chef, rules his steamy

realm with steely eyes, paces his rum.

Later he'll grow moist, maudlin, desperate.

The sous chef flirts, quips, chops and slices.

From behind the pastries, the old Greek

grumbles at the girls who pick up

meringues, tarts, and layer cakes.

The dishwashers talk broken-English

trash as they scrape plates-

not the paper-pale junkie.

His silence is frantic.

I hoist my tray with six covered dishes.

Never mind my bad back, no time.

At the big table a toddler's made

an apple-sauce mess. His cool,

spotless, mother requires my help.

Two more years and I'll be a nurse.

With a gracious smile, I'll dispense

pain pills a half-hour late.