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© 2013 Grace Cavalieri

book: Swan Research Father

Swan Research, 1979
The Word Works, Inc.


When I see the 1900's walk by 
   in early frock coat from a former time
I see you in grey and brown like 
   New York, its cold cement,
Small canisters of milk carried 
   downstairs by children
Who could not speak the language; 
   I hear the chicken freezing
In your yard, let loose so 
   you could eat that night.
And of the pack of you, 
   squabbling and squawking in the corner
No regard is given by your 
   Queen Mother sitting in the
Chair, embroidering her dream of 
   Florence where there were
Stables, the town apartment 
   in Venice, the fields to the
North around Pisa, sewing the colors she knew 
   on fine silk.

When I think of your father, the professor 
   coming home, without money, paid once more
In love and adulation by the crowds, 
   in their dialect
And how he died with pennies on his eyelids, 
   the secret note speaking
Of his failures to you, my father, the eldest, 
   did you know
Where to go with that pain? How ashamed 
   you must be of us;
Your brother's sons are physicians, physicists 
   researching the stars
And he, eighteen months younger than you, 
   spared again.

Swan Research: "I am moved by the clear images that soar, crawl, leap from the heart."
Robert Alexander
Artistic Director, Arena's Living Stage