By Eamonn Wall,


To mark my father’s first day in America

a young couple mounted a super-sized

Sony boombox atop a garbage can

at a bus stop: Dyckman St. & Broadway.

For his enjoyment, they played loud

merengue and danced blithe steps

along the sidewalk they had shaped

to the Dominican beat, and except

for an old dude in a grey mackintosh,

we cheered at entertainment’s end,

the bus halting with a cinch and roar.


Next day on a downtown A between

125th and Columbus Circle, a wildly-

dressed young lady called for attention:

she sang a canción regarding love,

trabajo, and old sad waves that personify

as they fall on distant shores, lyrics

forcing up from my father’s tender core

a sigh, a tear, a reckoning of many lost

lives, as he saw it, passed in harsh light,

far from hearth and home, his own uncle

disbanded patriot from our troubled times

found dead on an LA skid-row alley way.


My mother sat between us on the bounding

subway car: enthralling these magic

movements of American life. On the third day

we lunched to the rum-thum-thum

of African drums benched in the shade

of Central Park as we awaited with a crowd

a gay corps of Korean breakdancers to resume.