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Flower Child

she never told him the truth

instead she said his father

had not returned

from the battle field

with names

spelled at times with a K or a C

or cut-off, clipped

her tongue choking on make-believe

foreign syllables


       had never existed


she swore she’d tell him

when he reached eighteen

old enough to understand


       those crazy years


guitar and alcohol music

perfume of grass in the nights

and the wild days

coming, going, exchanging

intimacy, just a bunch

of careless denim teenagers


       one of them was there


for sure in a graying photograph

of all of them she kept

inside a copy of The Fountainhead

they all looked alike

young, defiant, writing a novel

or tracing tattoos of a clean new world

inside her thighs


       it could have been any one of them


it doesn’t matter any more

on route 90, two in the morning

she overturned her purple and yellow

Volkswagen into a ditch


her son went on to be an officer

decorated for bravery

and later a scientist

a surgeon

a famous author or poet

       one of those…


someone his parents would have been proud of

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© Johnmichael Simon



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