Rising while we were still asleep
you put your heavy boots on
and left to work the oil fields
fitting iron pipe,
while your hands froze
under the cold, New Jersey sky.
When we awoke we ate oatmeal,
donned our nice clothes,
and hurried to school.
Afterward, we played Hide 'n Seek,
Hopscotch, or rode around
on our shiny, Schwinn bikes.
Still you were not home from work.
On humid, summer weekends,
you dropped us off at the Arcola Pool
out in the suburbs,
where we splashed, swam and cooled off
under the spray of the huge fountain
while you returned to sweat while
remodeling the never-ending repair
on our old house often pouring yourself
some whiskey in your iced coffee
to keep you going.
As you hammered and sawed
to improve our lives, did you ever wonder
if it all was worth the sacrifices you made?
Did our little gifts of Old Spice and ties
really show you how much we cared?
From Why I Miss New Jersey (Everhart Press ,2013).
Used here with the authorís permission.