CLEVELAND, 1930: ON THE STREETCAR
Look at his hands and tell me what is his job.
Yes, rough like your pa’s hands, so hard work.
That lady has been crying, has red eyes.
See— gold ring on her thumb.
I think her husband is maybe dead.
There is accent behind; no, don’t look.
You know is not German, not Russian.
Czech. Is enough like Polish to make me laugh.
Someday you teach your children
always there is something new to see.
Why is that man wearing slippers?
Is he stupid, or did he forget?
Oh maybe no shoes,
but look at his clothes.
He is not poor.
Remember story: I thought my papa
did not miss one pear. Foolish girl! Papa said
God looked down from heaven and saw me
like God saw Adam. Remember:
everything God sees.
Is that lady sister or girlfriend?
Yes, girlfriend. Look at their shining eyes.
Here is hospital so we get off. Your papa
will be happy. You make him smile.
Big step down. Hold my hand.