Beams of radiant sunlight vibrate
like a tuning fork gone wild.
A hypnogogic reverie spotlights
a dream within a dream.
Roly-poly Noah Rimalover played
the xylophone for Izzy and his mother,
who chewed his food for him
and wiped his butt 'till he cried:
Enough! I'm a big boy now!
All grown up he couldn't outgrow
his baby bottle habit,
sleep wouldn't come
without warm milk.
Izzy worked all day and night
rarely washed or changed his clothes,
peddled newspapers under the El,
inherited his father's newsstand,
Uncle Sam's gift to a blind veteran
of the Spanish-American war.
Izzy never had a friend,
had so very few pleasures
except for a once a year ride on the loopty-loop
on the Bronx River Parkway to
The Kensico Valley Dam.
Picked crab apples in late summer
so mother could make thick crab apple jelly.
Listened to favorite songs on his wind up victrola:
"Red Hot Mamma" and Al Jolson's "Mammy".
On a starless shivery winter night
the needle got stuck on "mammy".
Mother's screams echoed up and down the block
when she found Izzy hanging from the bathroom door.
Milton P. Ehrlich