Papa's age is past now fifty-seven,
his years the multiplicity of Heinz
spacing his work with lunchtime vino:
a siesta-less career, now come to call,
an unholy ghost he willed once lost travails.
They say he's traded secrets with the Pope
on microphonic olives in martinis;
we children know his record past reproof:
he's shown he loves his native country truly,
the one he left a life ago.
Papa wasn't always fifty-seven,
grandma's grainy pictures had him twenty:
all meant to force me down her fettuccini
to make pasta stretch me to a pole,
adroit and tall as papa's six foot two.
Now he plays America's true end-game:
his friend's been killed by men on Soviet pay,
his world has shed more blood beyond wars cold,
and lent him robes to rend in horror hate
of spilling ketchup on his beef tartare.
(Blogger's note: I wrote this in June 1978
when my father turned 57, my age today.)