That was the year the Nazis marched into Vienna,
Superman made his debut in Action Comics,
Stalin was killing off his fellow revolutionaries,
The first Dairy Queen opened in Kankakee, Ill.,
As I lay in my crib peeing in my diapers.
“You must have been a beautiful baby”, Bing Crosby sang.
A pilot the newspapers called Wrong Way Corrigan
Took off from New York heading for California
And landed instead in Ireland, as I watched my mother
Take a breast out of her blue robe and come closer.
There was a hurricane that September causing a movie theater
At Westhampton Beach to be lifted out to sea.
People worried the world was about to end.
A fish believed to have been extinct for seventy million years
Came up in a fishing net off the coast of South Africa.
I lay in my crib as the days got shorter and colder,
And the first heavy snow fell in the night.
Making everything very quiet in my room.
I believe I heard myself cry for a long, long time.
What I hate are short winter days,
Cold and snowless afternoons,
The dark night in a hurry to fall
After the last school bus passes.
I dislike a woman who won’t light
But one lamp in the house,
Who keeps the heat way down
And wears three sweaters and a shawl.
What drives me to despair are meals
Eaten in silence with the TV on,
The recital of the day’s horrors
Followed by a grim weather report.
It breaks my heart to go to bed
Every night in a room without heat
With the one who stills has strength
To pray to God for our salvation.
Our late friend hated blue skies,
Politicians kissing babies,
Women who are all sweetness.
He liked drunks in church,
Nudists playing volleyball,
Stray dogs making friends,
Birds singing of fair weather as they crap.
The Paris Review, Issue 192, 2010