Robert Cooperman – 2 poems 

GRANDPA’S REVENGE

 

After Dad’s hat frame factory—

fragile as bone china—splattered

like cheap crockery, Grandpa shouted:

 

“You screwed up, Sol!

If you hadn’t been in such a hurry

to push me into retirement,

I could’ve saved the business.

But no, you and Harry thought

you had all the answers.”

 

While his fists punched the air,

I wanted to shout Grandpa hadn’t kept up

with orders, sent the delivery man

to wrong addresses, gave contradictory

instructions to blockers and finishers,

 

while Dad had worked competent

and patient as a spider at its web,

though he’d got caught in it, when ladies

stopped buying fancy chapeaus,

and Harry ran off with the payroll

and a frolicky finisher. and left

his wife in shrieking destitution.

 

Dad a shamed suspect, until Mom held up

a hand like a traffic cop, and in a voice

you had to lean closer to hear, said,

 

“That’s enough.  Blame the times. 

Blame Harry, for a drunken thief,

but don’t you dare blame my husband.” 

 

The room grew so still I could hear

the planet creaking on its axis:

all of us frozen, until Mom nudged me

out the door and told me to go play. 

🍃

MONEY LAUNDERING

 

Not as in the mafia buying

into a legitimate business;

but as in two friends ironing

wrinkles out of hundred dollar bills

ahead of their trip to Myanmar.

 

Two lovers of the tropics: they’ll trek

in steam-fecund national parks,

visit holy Buddhist shrines, walk

exotic cities, and relax at a resort

in a lake reached only by boat.

 

All of that costs money,

and not a business in the country

accepts credit cards or has ATM’s,

and merchants will take only

hundred dollar bills less blemished

than the faces of super models, crisp

as the uniforms of the junta’s elite.

 

Any crease, any stamp or ink-writing,

any crimp or smudge, and the Franklins

will be tossed back like fingerling trout.

 

So El has spent all night laundering bills:

merchants and generals with their hands out.

🍃

Robert Cooperman 

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