August 11, 2020


posted on: Thursday November 8, 2001

Joan Barker

Bleached arm hair and freckled eyelids
retreat for an hour.
Head pressed to the cool window’s skin,
Bus ticket. Nineteen dollars and twenty-five cents.
Coffee. One forty-nine…a few drops spilt,
maybe seven cents worth.
Nervous fingers tremble,
sending slight vibrations through the foam cup’s shell.
Troubled eyes, hunting for a familiar feel in a peculiar setting,
a vacant comfort in contrast to his innocent will;
on a bus to Annapolis, a trip that had warranted tear soaked partitions, poised in regret.
Sister, I am not on a plane to Vietnam.
Daughter my fate did not hang from circumstance,
a few inches to the left,
so the bamboo and buckshot pierced my coat sleeve,
and not my apathetic skin.
The sound of punctured straw and rustling leaves,
my only eyes to darkness, on Christmas Eve.
Solace stolen, ordered to futile surveillance.
Derelict memories…a holiday seized, and stained.

Maybe it is the bittersweet reflection that haunts
my annual tide. I know time not by your standard,
but through retrospect alone,
labeled days and dawns, months and mornings.
Maybe, all this that consumes my ability…reminds me of you.
A time of adverse illusion, blemished skin, bleached and freckled.

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