I am married to the calligrapher/henna artist, Catherine Lent. We have three daughters. As a retired teacher, I spend most of my time writing, reading, watching birds, cooking dinner, and doing dishes. I have published poetry in many literary journals such as The Literary Review, New York Quarterly, and US1. My book, Even That Indigo, was published in 2012. My poem “Red Moon,” was nominated for a Pushcart Prize by US1. http://us1poets.com/archive/volume-57-2012/#Moon
Harrison Street ripples red, white, and blue
from the American Legion to the cemetery
as the high school band plays When the Saints
Come Marching In and threads a parade through town.
In the backseat of a Thunderbird, our mayor,
one arm slung around the slumped shoulders
of a veteran in dress uniform propped beside him,
smiles solemnly, waves to the crowd.
Between heroic speeches and Taps,
kids peck like chickens at Starbursts
and plastic-wrapped lollipops firemen toss
from a newly polished hook-and-ladder truck.
We stand still and quiet on a green bridge
over the Delaware as seven soldiers wearing white helmets
and white gloves raise their rifles and fire three rounds
at the clouds.
Poppies explode from an open hatch in the belly
of a single-engine plane soaring above the river
and spiral down a staircase of air.
For some of us, their descent is personal,
a loved one overseas leafing through the wind,
a relative's name etched in stone
or the plaque under the Doughboy statue
in front of the elementary school.
Others are simply distracted from the daily,
captivated by spectacle, or drawn in for a moment, like me,
to mourn all lives cut short by war.
While the airplane drones home
and the river carries off another armful of flowers,
we stop by the cemetery before heading back
to our front porch politics, our gardens
and laundry, all there is to be done.
©2015 John Smith