My mother, a brunette, hurried in her cloth coat
through postwar Sundays, which fell
as they were meant to fall, too slowly.
Hair windblown, laddered nylons askew,
she leaned against a Packard
to straighten a seam. They were young,
my parents, nursing their rusty prewar love.
Love was never again the love they had survived.
Having seen all and said nothing, there he stood
at the back of the classroom, my father,
a sailor on the Bill, in his outdated jacket
and Navy slang. He tottered on his new land-legs.
His eyes wore that seagoing barnacle stare.
Every Sunday my mother came to the city
to drink illegally, until silent and sick with drink.
And then in its way the war was over.