Poetry: 'Because Our 18-Year-Old Selves Knew Better', 'McDonald's Mystery Maven'

Published: Wednesday, December 19, 2012 at 4:10 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, December 19, 2012 at 4:10 p.m.


By now, your ghost still lies next to me,

side by side in a broke-down Chevy,

every curve of your hand, the

shadows dancing in our oxygen.

By now, three words sigh in my ear,

eight letters that lie. Curdled air is enough, but

by now, I haven't Sylvia Plathed myself.

I'm charged interest on this loaned affair

that makes me want sugar and get salt, while

by now, you play her spindle legs,

snaking hips around places we used to visit.

The delay between us goes a little longer so that

by now, my grip on language snaps, leaves

us in a drafty apartment on the top floor with the

faint lingering scent of coffee and trust.




"When I graduated from Langley※"

Was one of the things that she said.

She was red-haired, freckled and gangly.

Oh! She also said, "They're all dead※"

She sat eating breakfast with two men

Who looked like military types.

One spilled coffee on their table, then

Gave the mess a couple of swipes.

As I spied upon her entourage

And listened, covertly, to her,

My thoughts drifted to espionage

And the dark things it might infer.

A brief lull developed in their talk,

The woman staring in her cup.

Seeming to be afraid she might balk,

The man on her left asked, "What's up※?"

"Looking at the vortices is all,"

She replied, swirling 'round her spoon.

Some of them were big, but most were small,

And all of them vanished quite soon.

"They're pretty," she said, then sipped her joe.

Mutely, the two men stared at her.

"It's just the simple pleasures, you know,

That always seem most to matter."

Quietly, they got up and went out.

I resumed writing poetry.

But one thing I knew without a doubt:

I'd encountered a mystery!



[ Send original poems to Write On!, The Ledger, P.O. Box 408, Lakeland 33802. Poems may be emailed to sherri.valvo@theledger.com. Put poem in the subject line. ]

This story appeared in print on page B9

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