Pink Diapers

During my Joe McCarthy childhood
I was warned to "Never
repeat what you hear in this house,"
but I didn't know
which parts of what were secrets. At home
I was told to be proud of friends going to jail,
at school I learned prisons
are for criminals.
The Pledge of Allegiance was so hard to say
because I'm left-handed and got my sides mixed up.
At age three
I realized SP was salt and pepper
but I never figured out
what CP meant.

Still I vividly remember
a man who had been with Trotsky in Mexico
grabbing my brother by the ears
and lifting him three feet off the ground.
He brought him straight
up in the air saying "Jesus, 
you're a carbon copy of your father.
You poor bastard, you look
just like him."

From Present Tense: Poets in the World, edited by Mark Pawlak. Copyright © 2004 by Donna Brook. Reprinted by permission of Hanging Loose Press. All rights reserved.