With both boys home again zooming school, we talk about this corona year and its hardships, and I bore them at dinner recalling my own youth and the lessons there.
We hunted nickels in the cushions
when school lunch was 30 cents
bought kerosene in cans to heat
the house for a day
ran the car without oil ‘til it seized.
You weren’t born yet.
I was younger than you.
We put up a sign when the gas arrived
and cars lined up down the street.
Daddy let them buy food on credit.
What else, he thought, could he do?
When the store failed he walked
the fields drunk as a tattered lord.
So that’s why now here in the suburbs
amidst our cosseted stuff
I come home in a mask with cereal.
Ice cream. Apple sauce.
You see that’s what he taught me —
find comfort where you can.
In hard times, ain’t it true,
you always run out of spoons.