Love Is Relative

In my father's private closet,
scotch-taped to the inside door

(not tacked; tacks will mar the grain, John...)

was a picture of Rita Hayworth
all slink and smoke in that Gilda dress,

no straps and a poised Pall Mall,
cherry lipstick on its air-brushed filter

(I go to bed at night with her, son, but wake to your mother)

The picture was tattered, torn at the edges;
peeled down in a place or two like black satin gloves

it was signed at the bottom corner, in faded ink
that read 'To John...Love, Margarita'

(Close the closet, dear, I can't stand the excitement)

I asked my father once who signed that blue name
but it turned out to be 'just a girl from Brooklyn, kid'

who danced at the Palace Theater where he ushered
society couples to their seats for 10 cents an hour

(but now he is a faithful and obedient servant)

That picture hung there as long as I did, and longer;
it warmed him, it was the only thing that ever did and

when my father died, I found it folded neatly beneath
his unionsuits, in a drawer my mother never touched

(more women in the world than anything, else, son)

except insects. But what I want to know is

did it bother you?