After teaching at a college in South Florida for thirty years, I retired, and my wife and I moved halfway across the country. Some of my poems have appeared recently in such journals as The Comstock Review, Main Street Rag, San Pedro Review, and South Florida Poetry Journal. Check out my author's page on Facebook or go to my blog at http://www.michaelminassian.com
SHOOTOUT AT CROTONA PARK
One cool autumn day,
dressed like a kinescope cowboy
in white plastic boots
and a black Hopalong Cassidy hat,
I walked with my mother
along 3rd avenue in the Bronx
holding her hand tight
as we headed for Crotona Park.
At the corner, we paused
for the light to change
as behemoth buses and titanic trucks
lumbered past belching smoke
to the clamor of automobiles horns.
Gripped in the fist of blustery air,
I spun around to find my hat gone,
tossed, then spun across the road
amidst the on-flowing traffic;
when like a waylaying outlaw
a car screeched to a halt,
and the driver swooped up the hat
then drove off as my mother wailed
at the disappearing hulk of metal.
At least, that’s how my mother always tells it;
my memory too green
to absorb the hat, theft, and car all at once,
leaving me with a vague sense of once
owning a black cowboy hat
and how it was jammed down so tight
on my head, that for one brief moment
the wind lifted us both
before the hat took flight,
and I knew how it felt to beat gravity
and leave the earth itself.
Originally appeared in California Quarterly, 2008.
© 2018 Michael Minassian
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