at Newark Airport, April 2001

I dumped my sundries out

then stuffed them back into my bag,

the checker waving me on through.

Forgetting what I’d packed

in haste and slid in a side pouch:

my father’s blackjack for my son.


You couldn’t imagine a more reluctant

cop, one less inclined to cuff a crook

or brandish deadly force. Father,


save me from this shrunken

shaven head atop its elongated neck—

the wagging, weighted, long, black tongue


about to testify against me.


Photo By: Alan Levine