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Auntie M.

Fact, a hippopotamus was larger
than our aunt
who used to be an assistant bank manager
until she retired and traveled the continents
snorting irrelevant complaints
and collecting two Rupee souvenirs
for distributing like the genial self-trumpeting
remarks she made whenever she came to visit


Mass produced opinions dripped from her
like colored water from a twenty-dollar
plastic fountain, recycling like senility
in a bowl of lukewarm soup


Other nieces had been known to
attempt suicide rather than attend her
Friday evening dinners where
week old calves foot jelly competed
with faded yellow chicken legs of
uncertain vintage for first place in revulsion

We used to keep discreet paper bags
in our pockets for under-the-table
collecting of her more objectionable opinions
on non-present wives and state-of the-art
accounts of interminable waits at distant airports


Who would have believed
the photograph of a little girl in a green dress
perched on a penny-farthing bicycle,
matchstick legs bare to the world
like a flea on a pole, was auntie pachyderm?


For months afterwards I would
view myself in the mirror,
check my thighs for any sign of flabbiness
record my voice on tape to make sure
I was not trumpeting


My own nieces I take to a Chinese restaurant
where the food is tastier and the lights dimmer

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© Johnmichael Simon



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