Sunday, June 19, 2011

Bob and Ditty

I cut Dad’s hair today
He coached me.
This is still new for him-
needing so much 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 
the doorbell two years after he shipped out.
She held her toddler, Bobby, 
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 after Dad
caught thieves. Dangerous nights in the oily salt air 
lasted through the decade shocked with 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, 
where 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


Maryanne Stahl said...

what a gorgeous couple, and a beautiful poem. may they rest in peace

Karen said...

I love this.

We loved them... thanks for sharing.