Before

Melancholy Hyperbole

I’m  9 and behind the wheel of our green and white ’55 Olds.
I start to check the mirrors,
but my father tells me not to worry what’s coming from behind–
though I know he always does.
The Belt curves around to the right near the Bay Parkway exit
and I see houses and parks and empty lots in the distance
and people walking on Shore Road, dressed for the weather.
What’s missing is the Verrazano up ahead,
that behemoth that looms over everything on land and on the sea
and whose towers you can hardly ever see in the morning fog.
It’s 1958, building it had not yet begun.
Careful, Aloysius, he says to me, though he knows I’m scared
and more apt to wander from my lane unwittingly
than be foolhardy or reckless:
I am my father’s son.

This is a game I call Before
and as…

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