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Mr. Lee 

Sometimes in the late afternoon, we would watch the big man standing over a mass of steaming pea soup or some other tasty concoction, already dressed for dinner in his clean starched whites, his dark shiny face reflecting prominent jawbones, his calloused hands with those giant crusty knuckles pulling the old wooden spoon through the thickening mixture. Other days he'd be sitting on the stump he used as a chair, humming old tunes from the hit parade and peeling endless potatoes, gleeful and smiling as if every spud was a jewel to be uncovered. Good jobs were hard to come by in those days. It wasn't so long ago he'd been hidden away in his uncle's truck in the middle of the night, praying they'd make it to New York before the cops stopped them—or worse.

  • A poem by Dean Goldberg.

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