Just Say Goodbye to Mother

What about Damon Runyon, his cloth booties,
the pineapple upside-down cake his mother
burned while carmelizing, the shower in the basement
that after all the wrenches and wrenching was only
a trickle and after 1898 he
had to live without his mother—oh
the white boys in the Philippines—and carry
his gear on his back and you may not believe it
the sweet and milky songs they sang and what
Samuel Clemens said about that war
or how I banged on the door at the post office
and someone met me with his finger wagging
again and again from 1941 to
1945, my own mother howling.