Father was a Wall Street gambler, as superstitious as

a Sicilian peasant doing an incantation to Mount Etna .

He gave me the nickname of “Taviuk”, some

kind of Translylvanian talisman, claiming it would

bring him good luck. The day before it was all

over Puts and Calls were still his game.

Busy on the phone with his broker he failed to witness

the morning sun streaming through the window,

missing a glimpse of divine light, a glimmering

iridescent halo hovering over a lone tug boat

chugging up the turgid currents of the East River .


After wrestling with a tangle of tubes

like an octopus surrounding its prey,

he was bound down to his bed

like a prisoner who might escape.

His emaciated body was tenderly

bathed by an angelic nurse who

washed genitals that had once

loomed so large to my child’s eye.

I remembered his shampooing my hair,

carefully avoiding getting soap in my eyes,

eyes that were now tearfully blurred.

As soon as I could see out of the

windshield he taught me to drive

his treasured Model-A Ford.

All my magic couldn’t save him from his

run-away Lymph glands, a Hydra monster

devouring his insides like a starving

old junk-yard mongrel.

When the tubes were removed he

lapsed into a coma.

We breathed as one until his body turned cold.

Milton P. Ehrlich