Domenico Giusseppe
Joseph Bathanti

Singled from the queue filing
through airport security,
my 90 year old father is fully cooperative,
even amiable; not even surprised, it seems,

that fate has tapped him on the shoulder
to answer for something he is innocent of.
Two uniformed buxom matrons,
coiled hair and black patent leather

Sam Browns, heart-shaped
silver badges, ask him
if he’s accepted anything from strangers
since he’s entered the terminal.

He assures them he never accepts things from strangers.
They study him as if his affability
is part of the ploy, a filament
wired to the bomb he’ll trigger.

They prod over him an electric wand,
slip him out of his overcoat, shake his cane.
He smiles and calls them young lady.
He’s ordered to remove his shoes,

a pair of white Addidas,
not a scuff upon them; and his hat,
an old brown fedora they flip over
and over and empty of its nothingness,

before patting him down like a convict,
armpits and crotch, sliding
their hands up and down his arms and legs,
each skeletal ridge and knob

as if by magic he might divide
and reveal the vault of Armageddon.
Suddenly my father is terrible as Isaiah.
Yet he remains smiling, even as they strip him,

tottering naked on bare yellow feet,
white hair smoking off his chest,
millwright’s legs tungsten blue,
from him emanating an audible tick.

Then they peel him out of his skin,
jackknife him open:
sprung, mis-spliced wires,
capped sockets, taped frays –

the mysterious circuitry of detonation.
Still they don’t find what they’re searching for,
and he can’t remember

where he’s hidden it.

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