129 Stanton Street

At the turn of the 20th Century, Father is born
on the top floor of a 6 th floor walk-up on the lower East side.
He has red hair with a head on fire to escape
from the noise and dirt of the City, despite the challenge
of the loss of his father and step-father before his 11 th year.
Mother takes in borders to make ends meet, he camps out
on a fire-escape on a layer of silt blown in from polluted air.
With an unquenchable thirst for adventure,
he dreams of walking on water to catch fish.
He practices casting for salt water fish.
Up at dawn—to join his chum
on an East River wharf.
Mother rewards him at 10 cents a carp
which she bakes in a ratatouille-givetch
that he never forgets—hoping his wife
will master the art of his favorite food
that he longs for every Saturday night
with a couple of cold Rheingold beers.
French birds fly out of Father’s mouth,
singing La Marsellaise to wake me for school
—a song he learned from his French
fishing friend he knew from the wharf.
He longs for the respite of wrestling with fish
or just losing himself on long country roads,
comforted by the sight of sagging silos
and old red barns— breathing air nurtured
by the sun and untarnished silver clouds.
A few years after Father passes away, his son finds
his Father’s Shangri-La on PEI— an old farmhouse
on the Bay of Saint Mary at 129 Jamieson Lane.