The Americans
by Robert NIsbet

We loved to walk the street, if not by night,
then in late spring evenings. We were twelve.
Homes are best apprehended in their glimpses
in the hour after supper, last hour of day.

The Hoppers’ house delighted us at once,
the backyard Stars and Stripes half-fluttering,
the smells of roasting chicken, barbecue.
(So many cabbage smells, minced beef, in Wales).

But best was Mrs. Hopper’s mid-West call,
“Hey, Joey, hey! Where is that pesky boy?”
And if not out with us, Joe was in his room,
with his music, Connie Francis, Billy Jo.

It seemed to us the purest prairie idiom,
the grace and huskiness of Yankee magic,
that musical calling in those light Welsh evenings,
“Where is that Joey? Joey, hey!”

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