Jul/Aug 2009 Poetry

My father's first job (in Canada)

by Bojan Pavlovic

My father's first job (in Canada)

Forty years, they say, is an ugly age:
Too young for death, too old for hope.
Yet he was forty then, when,
With no more than twenty dollars he climbed
A bus and knocked at rusted factory doors,
The Master Engineer.

All new beginnings are hard, they say:
Life can only catch its breath thrice, and then
It totters on heavy feet, a drunken uncle.
He held his breath then, when,
They let him, (who dreamed at the speed
Of jet engines), fuse broadsheets of metal
One an hour, fifteen dollars each hour, and so on.

Those who no longer hope can only remember, they say:
The past has the warmth of a childhood blanket.
With his first paycheck he bought us
Vanilla ice cream in fresh cones. I sigh now, in relief,
Because I know that he has always hated ice cream.


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