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Border Village Street

He was parked by the curb

half way down the main street

between the Alaska Inn and

the House of Peace, both misnomers

in this turn-of-the-century

border village which overlooks artillery

disguised as apple orchards

and launching pads hidden in a quarry pit


His three-wheeled motorized cart

was shabby with years but still

the yellowish carriage looked respectable

under its green plastic awning

and to add to his protection from

the summer sun and from the gusty wind

he wore a wide-brimmed straw hat

on which was perched, like owls eyes,

a pair of sunglasses


The pug which had been sitting

on the floorboard scowling when they

first passed me, had now disembarked

and after peeing on a fence post was

discussing the weather and other canine

matters with a waggy Labrador and another

curly-tailed fellow of local extraction


I left my camera in my pocket and smiled

at him as I walked by. He must have weighed

two hundred and fifty pounds even without

his amputated leg which was neatly folded

into an empty trouser cuff beside his good one


But I could still see that it had been cut off

high towards the groin and could only guess

which battle he had survived, which war,

for since the State was declared and even before,

this tiny town had witnessed many waves

of thrust and counterthrust


Eventually the pug got back on board

and off they trundled up the street, past

the Farmer’s House museum and the ice cream

parlor and I was left with unanswered questions


Concerning the camera embarrassed in my pants,

concerning the history concealed in his,

and concerning the pug who scowled as if he were

a close relative of the one who runs circles

round my little black terrier

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© Johnmichael Simon



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