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