Lois Roma-Deeley remembers an Italian-American father, his Lincoln, and the magic they evoked.
The Apostle of Wax and Shine
Parked in our driveway, the big finned
Lincoln sits like a fish
settling at the bottom of a basket
of so many passed-around loaves. As if its wide eyes,
open in death and crusted with chrome, went blind.
If St. Paul should ever lose my way
on this road that leads through 1959,
to my seven-year-old self sitting on the front steps
staring into the nothingness that would become my future,
he would find a rag top convertible, and my father
the Apostle of Wax and Shine.
Maybe he would come to understand a man
who’s two months behind his $64_a_month house payment;
the black haired, squarish, with strong teeth and sun-tanned arms
who supports his wife, kids, no-good brother;
who makes the rounds, delivering bananas in a small truck to little grocery stores
owned by immigrant Jews and Italians;
the sporting man whose name-Lou– is inscribed in script on blue denim,
maybe Paul would cut the guy a break.
He might see a man whistling as he rubs the soft cloth
into past wax and the, onto the white paint,
making circle inside of circles each and every time.
But does he see my own face in the reflection
gleaming off the hood of this car? See the wisdom
of four white walls which will spin
into spring, clearing a space across the days,
a very small place where I still live
simply for a little bit of magic?
Lois Roma-Deeley has published with us before. Read her poem “Otherwise.”
(from Rules of Hunger, Star Cloud Press, 2004, reprinted in New Hungers for Old: One-Hundred Year of Italian American Poetry)
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