Father loved me like a mother,
but when his world fell apart,
our house shook with lightening–like scars,
yet he soldiered on with a shot of schnapps
in the morning as he stood at attention
and sang in a loud, fiercely proud voice:
Allons, enfants de la patrie le jour de gloire est arrive.
He taught me to swim on his back.
On summer mornings, we swam
from the Coney Island pier to the end
of Brighton Beach, pursuing the horizon
like a 6-masted sloop cutting through
rotund Russian ladies and around
slim surfers sliding up and down
the wind-swept waves of the sea.
The sounds of Coney were never far from my ears—
the bass drum beat of the singing mermaids
in the Mermaid Parade,
and the unbridled joy of calliope music
that brings tears to my eyes
whenever I’m near a moving carousel.
Swimming into homeport,
I still hear Father’s orders:
Land Ho— All hands on deck—
drain the scuppers
and make ready to abandon ship!