Early morning mist competed
With my father when he sang Caruso.
The tuxedos he wore materialized
Out of thin t-shirts and boxers.
He stood on a world stage weaving
Spells over a secret audience seduced
From my mother’s best friends and
Women scattered here and there
Like the checkers at the Mayflower Market.
Reality arrived like a bony fist
with an unpredictable regularity.
My father retreated into his monk’s
Cell of a bottle where the liquid night
Swallowed him into its nest
Pulled a vanishing act
For months at a time.
By day he orchestrated magic
With heavy equipment
Building the Southland’s storm drains,
A system that washed
Away the agonies of his life.
When he slept,
He dreamed of being
On stage with a flawless Italian voice
Dropping on an audience of women
Like spun sugar
Weaving a spell
Tying them into knots.
My mother didn’t want to know
The truth about my father