In my father's home movies
people weren't allowed to stand
and fidget foolishly.
"Act natural," he'd say,
directing us to pass
the camera. And so we walked —
the neighbors, friends and kids —
as if there were a scene
somewhere behind the watcher,
some country we had
to be getting to.

When we lived on Carol Street,
the old Italian papas,
proud in their Sunday coats,
steered their women in a parade
of good intentions
up the sidewalk toward
the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens.
Thanks to my father's movie,
they still walk toward the light —
locked in their singular focus,
frame after tiny frame —
until they disappear
and nothing is left
but the blooming trees
waving their willowy hands
against a wrinkled sheet of sky.

# # # #