Canada (I.J. Rosenblatt)

I came to Canada when none was more than enough
With thatches of roof in my back pocket and blue numbers on my arm
A folded letter in an empty suitcase from two friends that are long gone
And a leather book with broken letters whose pages were cracked and torn

I settled in a backroom apartment on Clark near the corner of Bagg
And got a job sewing buttons on dresses for soup and $3.25
It wasn’t hard work but that was a problem my sewing didn’t last for long
Too much time to let my mind wander and think about my home

I can sit in the sunlight
I can see my daughter  (children, grand-children) looking at me
I can raise a glass to my long gone past when my table is full of people like you
I can build a town, sew a million gowns, board a ship to travel cross the sea.
But I can’t, I know I can’t, I know I can’t, no I can’t
Steal back my night, steal back my night

I married Hindy in ’56 it wasn’t a lavish do
With workers from the office and friends from the Y singing songs about my youth
With Skolnicks deli and a bottle of Zwack it was close as I got to joy
When a telegram from the red-cross came confirming what I’d already known


I volunteer now at the JPL reading stories to little kids
As if years of toil creating an empire I could be healed by Roald Dahl
When they look at me what kind of old man is sitting across from them
Through my crooked grin and funny voices can they hear my real life’s tale?


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