Poetry

The Ballroom of Heaven

As a Boy Scout, Dad decoded The dit-dit-dahs of Morse, the swashed flags Of semaphore, bugled “Taps.” At war’s end, trumpeted jazz, Sported a dashing Errol Flynn mustache, Drove a Mercury coupe, led a brass swing band. Growing gray, he bought a Mustang, Captained boats down the Chesapeake, Tracked game, and bow-hunted bear In the snow-packed Appalachians. A snappy salesman with the gift of gab, He spoke loquaciously, and loved to boast Of his singular prowess—how he closed a sale, Bagged a buck, or sang a tenor solo. Rising late, he rode his route, Carrying customers’ cash, lugged A black…

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