Judy's Father and Mine

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Contributor: Donal Mahoney

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The only difference between
Judy’s father and mine
is my father didn’t drink.
When we were tykes
they’d come home from work
in a rage every evening,
her father drinking into the night
and mine sitting in silence
in a tiny parlor playing
ancient reels and jigs
on a huge RCA Victrola.

Her father wore a tie
and carried a briefcase,
and mine wore coveralls
and carried a lunch bucket
into the alleys of Chicago
climbing light poles to fix
dead wires so all could see.
Her father came home neat,
mine soaked in sweat.

But they were twins,
Siamese if you will,
each miserable in his own way,
driving wives and children nuts.
I always wondered if Judy and I
had normal fathers, if we
would have been
scriveners as adults.

I know I would have gone
to law school and railed
in court in behalf of
the innocent and guilty
and made wads of money
I’d be fingering now instead
of sitting behind a keyboard
at dawn still typing.

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Donal Mahoney lives in St. Louis, Missouri.


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