Dear Dad, it’s your 110th birthday, and by now,
you must have a red beard down to your poopick.
I hope you longer chain smoke Lucky Strike cigarettes.

I see you on a quiet pond on the far side of the moon.
While my brother Ed rows, you troll in the sun
for moon-eyed pickerel and wide-mouth bass.
Two souls in a boat, a scene from a Chinese brushstroke.

Behind the sedge at the edge of the pond,
Mom is stirring your favorite corn meal mush
in boiling water on the Coleman stove.
While waiting, you quaff a bottle of Rheingold beer.

She decorates your mamaliga with Kalamata olives,
which you slather with Brindza and Kaskiaval,
and savor with six different kinds of herring.

When you get to your home in the Stanton Street stars,
you can reminisce about how you used to get out
of your La-Z-Boy Chair, and play pick-up-sticks,
and wrestle with us like a father bear playing with his cubs.

Waking us at the crack of dawn, you took us fishing
in your Model-A Ford, riding over the loopty-loops
for a special thrill on the Bronx River Parkway.

When we were little, you would dig all the worms,
bait all the hooks, and, untangle the lines, after asking:
“Did you tie these knots all by yourself?”

After losing your father at a tender age
in the Flu Epidemic of 1918, you looked forward
to being the father you never had.

You were endlessly kind, generous,
patient and persistent, like your uncle Paul,
who mixed compounds in his lab.
After six hundred and six experiments,
he discovered: Formula 606: Ehrlich’s Magic Bullet.

You never earned a Nobel, like your uncle,
but, as your son, I nominate you as Father Of A Lifetime.