Or Schwammerl. What you’d have called
Schubert, standing over his 1.5 meters,
if you were lucky enough to be his friend.
If you were Augie Bank’s friend & Jewish,
had broken your nose when tackling him
in a Sherman Park sandlot game, he’d call
you FNK in public, but slip you a sketch of
your mug, captioned Flat-Nose-Kike, when
he wanted you to supply an algebra answer
on a test. Side by side in adjoining desks,
I’d lean his way and casually flip my tie’s
backside wide open, the answer inked inside.
That was the year after Pearl Harbor, our
mothers weeping together when their brothers
were called up, sewing Service Flags for our
front windows. My mother accompanied Mrs.
Bank’s arguably accomplished alto in many
a Schubert song, Erlkönig our favorite. Augie
and I’d climb up on the sofa’s arms and whip
our steeds on, the life of Goethe’s child in our
pudgy hands, driven on by Death mocking us.