You are now entering the Jewish Currents archive.

“How I Could Afford to Travel . . .”

Robert Cooperman
January 19, 2018

by Robert Cooperman

HOW I COULD AFFORD TO TRAVEL IN EUROPE, 1970

I'd saved money from my first job
as a caseworker for the City of New York;
plus, the settlement from a childhood accident

that almost killed me: blood a crimson gusher
from running into the hairline fractured
foyer glass door to our apartment house.

To make my outraged parents go away,
the reality company paid a tidy sum,
but nothing to retire to Fiji on forever.

Besides, the lawyers took a third;
I banked my share, withdrew some
to fly to Europe, and every time

I thought about how lucky I was
to have that cushion for my travels,
I'd stare down at my right wrist:

the scar big as the mesas you'd see
from a plane making its final descent
to an airport in the dry, canyon west.

I'd shiver at the memory of splattering
glass, ripping flesh and more, much more,
blood than I thought possible

from the arm of a skinny eleven-year-old kid.

Robert Cooperman's travel poem, "The Potter, Somewhere in Denmark, 1970" appears in the September folio of our art calendar (Winter issue). Both it and the poem above will appear in That Summer, a new collection of his poems from Main Street Rag that will appear this year. He is also the author of The Words We Used, My Shtetl, City Hat Frame Factory, Draft Board Blues, Just Drive and other award-winning collections of poems. He lives in Denver.