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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

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© Johnmichael Simon



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