Murray (and other small boys) ended up in jail
for playing with bottle caps they’d stolen.
Abe intended to let him spend the night.

Although reading met his approbation,
it was also subject to his rules.
Too much reading, and you would need glasses.
He’d stand outside looking up at the windows
to catch someone reading at night.

Inside his mausoleum-like bookcase,
behind huge volumes of never-opened Yiddish books,
Abe buried the children’s things-
the toys he disparaged
along with the medals of excellence he cherished.

Through broken bones that ended his joyrides
and additional bodily harm that was administered afterwards,
Murray, with the makings of a champion pole-vaulter,
remained unfazed.
In 1932, he won a gold medal from Boy’s High.