My Father Remembers His Mother

Gail Goepfert

Near the tracks on 14th
in our two-story house,
red brick threads the walk
to the painted side porch
where grass insinuates itself
through the cracks. There’s
a hedge out front. Trimmed low.
Inside, my mother,
the lady of the house, stays home,
bakes kuchen, pie, bread every day.
My father sets off to work
lunch pail packed full. The day’s event—
the mailman rings the bell.

From time to time,
the hobos come midday.
One of them leaves
a flower, a twig, a ribbon
on the hedge. They know
where a sandwich
with meat can be had.

The Mister wouldn’t have taken
kindly to such generosity.
He never found out the hobos
came, sat on his steps, ate
his bread, his meat, drank
his water, treated his Missus kindly.

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