The working mothers never worked aloud,
those afternoons spent poolside, lean and tanned
amid the apparitions of the crowd.
The petals of their suits were caked with sand.
No black face ever troubled their repose.
At sunset servants in white uniforms
showered the greasy dust off with a hose
as summer broke the dark with lightning storms.
We drank in their politeness like a sin;
each deferential sir, each honeyed ma’am
reminded us that powers ranged above us.
Our mothers drank martinis and sweet gin:
we were too young for anyone to love us.
That fall our boys invaded Vietnam.
William Logan is the author of three volumes of poetry: Sad-faced Men (1982), Difficulty (1985), and Sullen Weedy Lakes (1988). This year, David R. Godine, Publisher, will publish a new volume of poetry, Vain Empires, and a collection of essays and review, Reputations of the Tongue. Mr. Logan has received the Peter I.B. Lavan Younger Poets Award from the Academy of American Poets and the Citation for Excellence in Reviewing from the National Book Critics Circle. (updated 1994)