Dancing in Time

Homage to Ilya Kaminsky

We lived west of the past
the mountains sent us letters
we couldn’t read. 

Grandparents a country away
boiled weenies in the attic
aunts pulled rosaries and cigars
from house-dresses, babushkas
and hung up enema bags. 

I wore a coonskin cap
that understood my loneliness
hid in my smiles
and in my sister’s drawers
like a prairie dog.

Winter on the plains
stripped us bare
(I feared its teeth)
my mother longed
for a home with more
and less than wheels
or cows to milk or steal.

At this my father
rubbed his bald head
blinked his sunburnt
eyes and went out to shoot
his .22 at rats and
naked dime store manikins.

The truth of this is
in the hearing.
Do you hear?

Ed Block

Ed Block

Ed Block is Emeritus Professor of English at Marquette University, Milwaukee, where he taught courses on (among others) Denise Levertov and Czeslaw Milosz and workshops in poetry.  His poems have appeared in Cross-Currents, Lake Country Journal, and other venues.  His collection, Anno Domini, appeared in 2016; Seasons of Change in 2017.