After a day swimming in the lake at Patchogue
My mother would hear her father’s car horn;
She’d climb on the running board and ride home
Clinging to the car. What model was it, I wonder;
How far did they go? Did they talk on the way?
Did she close her eyes and listen to the wind
Or did she watch the world flowing by?
How easy it would have been to ask her!
My father’s mother when she was young
Danced by some river in Galicia.
There was an emperor then: Franz-Joseph
She rather liked him. I imagine it must be something
To have an emperor. Perhaps you feel sorry for folk
In ordinary countries, who have only a king
Or the poor people who must get by
With an archduke, an elector, a president.