The Everyday Parade

by | Sep 13, 2011 | Poetry

But of course the damned old

pickup won’t start again,

and they miss the marching bands

in their bright uniforms,

the Shriners tiny in their go-karts,

the waving Santa and the hailstorm

of Dum-Dums and Laffy Taffys.

So next morning he calls

them both in sick,

no loading the fish trucks today,

none of that endless tracing

of loopy letters on wide-ruled paper.

She helps him swap out

the fuel pump

for one from the junkyard

delivered by goateed uncle

on motorbike,

and all afternoon they sit uptown,

a pair of grease-covered gearheads

in the white sunshine,

watching the long slow procession

of the Everyday Parade.

The mother who waits

until her daughter leaves

the restaurant

to light a secret cigarette,

the men through the window

of the bridal shop

telling with animated hands

what must be jokes or whoppers.

Three stray dogs locked

in tight formation,

the mangiest and most

loyal-looking mutts ever

to slink along a stretch of city street.

A beerkeg hauled

by big enthusiastic boys

in shorts and grimy ballcaps

from truckbed to duplex door.

And finally, not St. Nicholas

but a gangly old splotch-faced drunk

tripstepping up 4th Street

and crooning Sinatra from under

his Victorian mustache,

singing just the way a catfish might,

if he believed no one

could possibly hear his notes

swimming or sinking flat

beneath the spread and weight

of all that muddy water.




Photo Source: Alphabet

About The Author

Justin Hamm

Justin Hamm is the author of a full-length collection of poems, Lessons in Ruin, and two poetry chapbooks. His work has appeared in Nimrod, The Midwest Quarterly, Cream City Review, Sugar House Review, and elsewhere. Recent work also been selected for New Poetry From the Midwest and The Stanley Hanks Memorial Poetry Award from the St. Louis Poetry Center.