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Sin City Mother

August 11, 2019

I see nothing but the smoke rise

from her cigarette, and I know

everything about the days of war,

her face shadowed then illuminated

by the blinking neon EATS sign

as she serves coffee.

 

I watch her wrist and know

about the “miracle metal”

munitions constructed that summer

burned into desert growth.

Passes on and off base with soldiers and

officers alike; her gypsy life shared with showgirls, her name among those placed upon

the fuselages and posters.

 

He put money in her pocket -

tucking it way down and brushing against her as he tipped his black fedora.

Her cigarette bounced between her teeth,

she became the middle-aged sentimental woman who remembered her part

in keeping the boys happy and motivated.

Now the two veins that crossed her temple,

maps this godforsaken place,

which keeps her forever part of that war

--like the come-hither tip of her lit cigarette or the blood moon, rising over the blue mead lake -- remote and defiled

 

America.

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