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ISSUE:  Winter 1991

Once, my father took me to the Rockaways
  during a hurricane
to see how the ocean was behaving,

which made my mother furious, whose love
 was correct, protective.
We saw a wooden jetty crumble. We saw water

rise to the boardwalk, felt the wildness
 of its spray
That night there was silence at dinner,

A storm born of cooler, more familiar air.
 My father
always was riding his delightful errors

into trouble. Mother waited for them, alertly,
 the way the oppressed
wait for their historical moment.

Weekdays, after six, I’d point my bicycle
 toward the Fleet Street Inn
to fetch him for dinner. All his friends

were there, high-spirited lonelies, Irish,
 full of laughter.
It was a shame that he was there, a shame

to urge him home. Who was I, then, but a boy
 who had learned to love
the wind, the wind that would go its own way,

regardless. I must have thought damage
 is just what happens.


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