Ed Meek

Bambino Caravan

Spring mornings and late afternoons the daycare children

sprung from Davis Square Kinder Care

toddle past my condo in a lively circus caravan

led by their trainers—African-American and Latina queens:

 

surrogate mother-nanny-nurse-teachers,

who push six seat carriages, pull octo-bench-carts, 

and herd a baker’s dozen yellow-vested unbinary boys and girls

linked by a walking rope like dwarf horses or baby elephants,

 

transmogrified into a giant caterpillar migrating through our urban hood. 

Meanwhile the queens, tour guide the names of the sights: 

perros y gatos, cherry trees and tulips, robins y addillas

Vamos ninos! they call. Let’s go bambinos!


Crown Royal

My father didn’t drink because

his father and his brothers

drank too much.

My grandfather’s weakness--

Crown Royal--cloaked 

in a blue velvet pouch,

cost what he made in a day

fixing the cars

of the residents of Milton.

He loved to sing the Irish songs

when he was soused.


But when my dad

took the bottle away 

from his brother Bobby

after Easter dinner,

Bobby sucker-punched him.

I was 11, ready to kill,

but my dad, an ex-Marine,

held back, gathered my mother,

my siblings and me,

and retreated home as his eye

swelled and colored.


The youngest, Donnie,

turned to booze when Bobby

ran the gas station

into the ground.

He took cash from the till

to play the horses.

He drank when they won

and he drank when they lost.

Of course, he lost

much more than he won.

Ed Meek’s poems have appeared in The Sun, Plume, The Paris Review, North Dakota Quarterly. His new book, High Tide, came out last summer.