Ancestral Dream

 
Unknown photographer.
ancient camera,
another lost memory along
the family highway.

My dad - 
in his late teens, high school drop out,
newly minted soldier,
sweet incomprehension,
shipping off to the Theaters of Europe
and  North Africa -
posing with his father.

His dad,
in gangster pose;
made a good living as the neighborhood
grocer - 
always drove new black Buicks,
paid cash, of course.
A basement bootlegger during the Great Depression 
he supplied bathtub gin to his side of the town.

With his stern, suspicious Eastern European stare
he wordlessly says:
"My boy,
you’ll find out soon enough.
There will be nothing for you
to smile about 
when you return."

These two impenetrable ghosts,
contrasting gravitas and innocence,
are branded in my wiring,
with meanings still unfolding.