For a Turkey Sandwich, 1945

It was November in New York City, and the sky  
                was tainted by only one cloud. 

People were a bustle of makeup and 
                costumes, some unfamiliar with an event this size. 

My grandfather,16 at the time, was something 
                my mother would later come to fear: a clown. 

It was the Annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, back 
                after a fouryear hiatus due to the war. 
                My grandfather had volunteered to dress 
                up and carry that big balloon along the route: 
                Central Park, Times Square, 34th St. 

Big shoes, checkered jumpsuit, a tangle of strings: this 
                was unlike him. But there he was, in that  
                photograph I have, sitting at a cafeteria table with four 
                other men, all as young as he, shoving his face  
                with a turkey sandwich.  

The sixth man at their table, 30 years their senior, 
                wore a pinstripe suit, his hand delicately wrapped around a teacup. 

When the day was over, my grandfather’s pockets were 
               full of extra rolls. 

This is a story I have never heard 
               from him, only my mother. 

But I know it was not the first time he 
              did something out of desperation and 
              hunger, and it certainly wasn’t the last.