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I remember how he flicked a match flame into existence

between cupped palms, inhaled, smiled a crooked

smile, as if nonchalance was a way of life

his hands never far from a screwdriver,

a steering wheel or a feminine glance of admiration

at his laconic jeans and size 46 cowboy boots


When our wives were away we’d cruise streets

in his red Porsche looking for prey;

how incongruous we were, crimson convertibled

Mutt and Jeff; he would crack a joke at my

hunched discomfort as we purred by a quartet

of upward stretching willow legs –

don’t worry, you can stand on a bucket


How willingly they’d slip beside us

shoehorned in with his smile

as we shot red lights past town limits

to some secluded copse on a blanket, sipped some beer

his hands slipping past unresisting opened buttons

unfastening zips, his frame undulating like a leaf

telling fairy tales, as I contended with halitosis

and inexperience, looking upward at the stars

and cursing my embarrassment


And then, after so many years of distance,

the phone call telling of the wind that blew out his flame,

a merciful heart attack, unexpected and swift

no pain, no warning, simply the afterimage

of a light blown out by the breeze,

a crooked smile, a puff of smoke


I see him now, there in the shadows

dancing with his wife, the perfect match

his arm around her waist, swaying to Nat King Cole

singing unforgettable that’s what you are

crooning into her smile of satisfaction as he whispered

only you…it’s only you I love

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© Johnmichael Simon



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