by Robert Piazza
Old men leaf through girlie magazines
while Grandpop pumps his shaving cream.
Amidst the scent of talc and cologne,
a customer dials the telephone.
This is April, 1975—
Oldsmobiles are parked outside.
Beneath the upholstered swivel-chair
lies a devastated grove of hair.
Blue bottles of sterilized scissors
line the wall-length mirrors.
Playing charades, everyone I see
reflects a secret part of me—I hide
behind model-airplane magazines,
lost in boyhood fantasies
of gunners strafing submarines.
Meanwhile, the FM radio drones
like engines of bombers chugging along;
Grandpop hums Sinatra’s songs.
Why is my mind a battle zone?
Life is hell when Dad comes home
from carburetor factories
where forges flair a thousand degrees.
He hurls a can of kidney beans
at politicians on the TV screen.
Spilling a pitcher of lemonade,
my mother ducks his hand grenade,
and little sister stifles a sneeze.
The news reports how Vietnamese
teens were raped by US Marines.
Behind their napes, clippers buzz
like hornets in old men’s ears;
Grandpop snips their barbwire beards.
Rob Piazza’s poems have appeared most recently in Heart of Flesh Journal *and* Young Ravens Review. He serves as Poet Laureate of Litchfield, Connecticut. https://www.pw.org/directory/writers/robert_piazza