Bio Note: At a trendy coffee shop in the Berkshires I ordered an item called “Heart of Darkness,” and asked the young barista if it would make me cry out “The horror! The horror!” While she stared at me in blank incomprehension, a man standing to the side of the line burst into laughter, identified himself as the owner, and comped me on the coffee. Such are the perks of being a retired English prof.
There you are, leaning against the building door. I remember how we knelt in the dirt shooting marbles in that game we called “Killer.” No one could beat the foreign kid with the long, long fingers, who taught us the game. I remember your mother, how tiny she was, and how your father never spoke. He seemed to exist in a cloud that grew darker when he got mad. Your brother was the same way, bull-necked and wild. I remember him punching out one of the Irish kids who called him “dirty Jew,” and how after that they shook and chose up sides for basketball.
Hall of Fame
My mother worked in the city sometimes, and sometimes down the street. She was so happy with the telephone under her chin, laughing and talking in an upper room. I went to school, stomping with my big shoes. The French teacher hated me, made me sit in the hall. Every day it was a fight, cut knuckles or a bloody nose. My handwriting was bad, but I wrote a long report on the Civil War, cut pictures from a magazine. At tryouts for the baseball team, I snagged a long fly, tripped, and tore holes in the knees of my uniform. Caught the German Measles and got cut. My cousins took me out for ice cream, then drove around and slipped me beers. So what? they said. You’ll never make the Hall of Fame?
©2022 Steve Klepetar
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