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Belinda Reads a Poem
She brings olives pickled in salt and hyssop,
oregano from her garden. Her poems hinged
with oil from trees gnarled, bursting with fruit,
dark calamata, green manzanilla.
Spreading cream cheese on yet another cracker
she bubbles goodness, bonhommerie, oozing
compliments and questions about your children,
your last visit to the obstetrician.
We read. Each into her own adventure, mishap
or whatever. Bright as her inquisitive eyes, her
pen dashes over our hand-out copies. To each
she adds a paragraph of warm understanding,
a hint, her signature a Smiley of appreciation.
And then it’s her turn. She’s been away again
dining at her parents’ tables, deep into octogenarian
menus. Parted now decades, a tube of bitter memories
from L.A. to Chicago, the connecting cable stretches
and still after all these years, they pour invective
down it at each other, like boiling oil
Every six months or so she’s there, her devotion
a knife cutting a slit into father, into father, the
manzanilla lady, the calamata man. Rubbing salt
into her wounds, a sprig of hyssop, a dash of oregano
and she’s finished.
She looks up. We’re all staring at our pages, tasting
again the vinegar mixed into the melody
© Johnmichael Simon
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