Dad

by Gerard Malanga

The laissez-faire of social norms
shaped the way a ’40s photograph looks normal for its time.
Its innocence abounds.
Its grit & grainy surfaces act as dreamy entrances
to what surprises, what astounds.
Cocteau once said, “Astonish me!”
And I’ve been true to form
on all fours home alone
imagining worlds & games I’d invented for myself to while the
time away
until my dad came home with not much else to say.
He barely spoke a word of English.
Yet his world was full of words mostly mispronounced until he
got them right,
until I also got them right
as early poems.  My curiosity my compass.  Each night
my dreams would lie awake until I closed my eyes.