One of my fathers played stickball in Harlem.
This one never got a street-kid nickname.
Another scared well-dressed ladies into
crossing the street before he crossed their paths.
I’m told it was his boots or his brown skin.
A different father found friends stair-slackened:
addicts a boy couldn’t turn his gaze from.
One found god and never loved anyone.
Another played a dented sax, its keys
rusted pearly green underneath the pads.
#6 had his name called to enlist—
he didn’t like that one bit. Another
kept a baby boy in tow. My favorite
stood before the wild and never came back.