1969 by Tony Gloeggler

My brother enlisted
in the winter. I pitched
for the sixth-grade Indians
and coach said
I was almost as good
as Johnny. My mother
fingered rosary beads,
watched Cronkite say
and that’s the way it is.
I smoked my first
and last cigarette. My father
kept his promise,
washed Johnny’s Mustang
every weekend. Brenda Whitson
taught me how to French kiss
in her basement. Sundays
we went to ten o’clock Mass,
dipped hands in holy water,
genuflected, walked down
the aisle and received
Communion. Cleon Jones
got down on one knee, caught
the last out and the Mets
won the World Series.
Two white-gloved Marines
rang the bell, stood
on our stoop. My father
watched their car
pull away, then locked
the wooden door. I went
to our room, climbed
into the top bunk,
pounded a hard ball
into his pillow. My mother
found her Bible, took
out my brother’s letters,
put them in the pocket
of her blue robe. My father
started Johnny’s car,
revved the engine
until every tool
hanging in the garage
shook.

Tony Gloeggler

Tony Gloeggler is a life long resident of NYC’s boroughs and manages group homes for the developmentally disabled in Brooklyn. His poems have been nominated for Pushcarts a handful of times and would like to know who he needs to strong arm to have a chance to actually get one. His first chapbook ONE ON ONE won the Pearl Poetry Prize in 1998. He has published two full length collections (ONE WISH LEFT/Pavement Saw Press and THE LAST LIE/NYQ Books). Two collections were released near the end of 2015: A full length with NYQ Books titled UNTIL THE LAST LIGHT LEAVES and a ‘Duo’ with the photographer Marco North from Bittersweet Editions. Both books focus on his 35 years working with the developmentally disabled and his connection with the autistic son of an ex girlfriend.

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