Wanamaker’s 1974, for Mom


’74 yellow Bug, front seat

draft up my navy blue corduroy pants

AM radio

dial and four pushdown buttons

turn it off and sing the twelve days of Christmas

mom’s got a lion’s mane

crocheted vest, burgundy

knee-high boots

beige rubber heels

my true love gave to me

the lights show at Wanamaker’s

sit on the marble floor

not too close

or the light brights won’t look like dancing snowmen

mom unzips my coat

sweaty nose and bangs already

I’m waiting for the voice of Oz

to make me into a sugarplum fairy

take the escalator to Santa’s Secret Workshop

envelope pinned to my chest

ten dollars or maybe even fifteen

it doesn’t seem possible

all by myself

I wind through aisles

yellow rings with shiny stones

green bottled colognes

and soaps with ropes

after my bounty’s collected and paid

the change jingles against my chest

wrapping begins

white tissue paper and scotch-taped gift tags

the elves don’t understand our family names

Aunt Kiki

Mama Chelo



Bobby Oddy

mom’s there waiting

to help me carry treasures

take the elevator this time

to Wannie’s dining room

blue walls and blue-haired ladies

I look up and see the best part

a chandelier as big as the moon

I’ll order ginger ale

grilled cheese

chocolate pudding in a tall fancy glass

’til we go back to the roof of the lot

where I made mom park

wind around and around

to East River Drive

roll down the window

and sing

five golden rings

Originally published in Paterson Literary Review, Issue 34, 2005