Writes With Pencils

fiction, memoir, essays and poetry

Memorial Day

Remembering my brother today, and all those who have died in the service of others; may we deserve their sacrifice.

Writes With Pencils

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Flags were waved
at his memorial service
he was hailed a hero
who died for his country
the ultimate sacrifice.

Flags were waved
as his young widow cried
as his mother cried
and his father stood stoic in shock
at this unnatural order of things.

Flags were waved
as the color guard marched
speeches were made
and 21 guns
were fired in salute.

Flags were waved
as planes flew by,
five in formation,
until one banked right
and flew off alone.

I waved no flag
as I stood there in anger
listening to platitudes
one dimensional, false
and incomplete.

Where were the stories
of teenage drunkenness,
cockiness, violence,
and bullying abuse?
The slamming of doors,
so hard it once broke
the stained glass window
my mother had made?
The yelling, the screaming,
the holes punched in walls?
The bumps, the bruises
the bloody noses he gave me
the ones no…

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Getaway Bus

She stands erect at the bus stop,
with a small suitcase
sitting on the sidewalk
next to her
and a tightness stretched
across her lips and brow

two parallel lines
that lead nowhere in particular,
but map
the trail back to
where she left

for good this time.

Remembering Camelot

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Every fly
is a dragon
when
you are a knight
righting wrongs
with a cattail lance,
standing guard
with a lily pad
shield.

Composure Decomposed

Airbrushed each day
in competence activity and rectitude
her face was flawless
free from blemishes
of failure insecurity and sin.
At least everyone thought so
and when asked about her skin regime
she only credited eating lots of butter and olive oil
and the luck of good genetics from her mother
who at 75 had looked no more than 60.

But then the perfect storm
of expectations loss and slaughtered dreams
beyond what she could bear
ripped away her glasses
grayed her hair
and with each squall and tempest
the careful coats of paint
then peeled away
in several shades of hardship
revealing all she’d lived and covered
while extolling optimism.

When the winds had once more calmed
and she first looked in the mirror
she reached from habit
for her brush and powder
to fill the cracks and layers now exposed
but when she took in her reflection
she saw a tender beauty there
from the sadness in her eyes
and weary sallow of her cheeks
to the deepened worry lines along her brow
all a burnished gold patina now
the vulnerability of uncertainty
of living her own truth.

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