Saturday, May 3, 2008

Yellow Elephant

My father never had much
give for government
God knows if he paid his taxes but
he never completed the count and he
burnt his draft card and he
danced on its remains in
robust salute to our dear Uncle Victor
most ironically lost in the war.
My father a digger At Woodlawn,
a white man with roses in his cheeks
until he turned Yellow.
Weeks on end he’d filled jugs
with jaundiced water
and on it went…
Uncle Sam stepped in and
shut the place down.
Social service stepped in with
endless questions
answers paid for with
surplus cheese and
oily peanut butter and
powdered milk that mixed
into the consistency of a gluey gruel
My father a digger At Woodlawn until
Yellow reared its ugly head and
nearly broke the man
with no give for government
who was given no choice now
but to take.

Illustration: Julie Paschkis, Yellow Elephant, A Bright Bestiary)