My First Meal at the Clam Broth House Downstairs
My first meal at the Clam Broth House
downstairs, my father’s treat
before leaving. The Cuban waiter
in black shirt & white tie,
glasses tinted like limo windows,
led us through back rooms with back rooms
to a vinyl booth red as boxing gloves,
ketchups mixed with vinegars.
He told us especials we didn’t understand.
My father ordered New England clam chowder.
I tried pasta puttanesca & tap beer.
Blessing our booth: a movie star photo.
Know him? my father asked.
Sure, already at home in my new town,
Bruce Lee, the karate king:
four bacon-sized scratches
across his cobblestone stomach,
hands cocked to stir up a hurricane.
My father drained his Bloody Mary
in two swallows. Back in Old Greenwich
my mother loved a good cry
over Clark Gable. Raising me was done.
“Will Nixon’s narrative poems strike a rare balance between a child’s sense of wonder and a skeptic’s dry, knowing assessment of the world. We know at every wrenching turn or droll digression that we’re in the presence of a born storyteller.” Mikhail Horowitz