New School Old School

A Sunday barbecue at my brother’s,
and my mom is reading my niece’s
report card out loud. The words
bright, generous, creative, inquisitive,
sensitive, mingle with the smoky
aroma. Hungry, I’d just give her
a B+ so we can start to please
pass the ribs. She’s smart, funny,
cool, knows her own mind, speaks
when she has something to say.
Dick Clark would give her a 92,
a bullet placed next to her name,
aimed for the top of the charts.
Graceful and funky, she can twirl
around the room, back flip
across the floor, play piano.

Bringing my report card home,
I remember my father sitting
in his favorite chair, unfolding
the paper like Archie Bunker
with me standing in front of him,
handing him the envelope,
watching him slap it against
his open palm and even before
opening it, asking what Milka
Torbaringa got. He could always
make my 95.6 sound so shabby.
After my mom rocks her only
granddaughter in hugs, loud
kisses, we finally start to eat.
My mom tells my report card
story, how I was smart enough
to know my father loved me.

 

 

 

 

Tony Gloeggler is a lifelong resident of NYC and has managed group homes for developmentally disabled men for forty years. His chapbook One On One won the 1998 Pearl Poetry Prize. His first full-length collection, One Wish Left, published by Pavement Saw Press, went into a second printing in 2007. Until The Last Light Leaves, published by NYQ Books, was a finalist for the Milt Kessler Book Award in 2016. NYQ Books released his latest book, What Kind of Man, in June of 2020.