Trees, From Which Apples Fall

Tell me my father's name:
he is Daddy the Great,
he is Joe-Joe the Washa-Machina-Man
whose father came down out of Italy
with sons and scrubbed hands.
Scars gleam like gunmetal polished
on the long nights against knees
bent tight;
this wound is history,
says he,
this black-powder blood
from whence we came.
He loved her long before
the JAG officer handling cases
of court martials from his men;

Tell me my mother's name,
which she would not change for marriage.
Her degrees rest in lines along restaurant walls
owned by runaway mother,
by runaway father,
by gran who made barters with orthodox boys.
She sheds uniform for dancing dress and
there is no man,
says she,
who can tie me down
for more than three years.
She was gone long before
the scarred infantry soldier,
the steelworker's son who learned greek for her family.

He wanted to be a preacher.
Another sacrifice to her god of seperation checks
he stares at the photos and wonders
if she wanted to be a whore.