Witness (poem)

Pencil drawing of two party guests speaking

 

 

 

Witness

 

“You don’t like me. I want you to like me.”

Was that charming? Half an answer came

And it was, “No, I don’t think…”

Then, “about you at all” had to become

“I really know you.”

And so another guest, who seemed to be her husband, said

“And when you do…ha ha!”

 

After that, the woman filtered off

Among the daylight crowd, the ceremony

Someone’s mother, renewing vows

They were proposing the adult children

would stand and give appreciations, and the balding son beginning

Said, “I have a great Dad. That time Georalyn was in

addiction counselling, and she asked me if I would adopt

J. J. if she killed herself, Dad quit his teaching job

and moved back here. He took off two years, borrowed on

his retirement, so J. J. could have him at home.

“But,” he said, while she sat disbelieving,

“Ronnie’s a terrific guy.”

 

Which ones are all these characters? Is the woman

with the liquid liner, little beads of mascara clumping

her lashtips, Georalyn the addict? What will I say to her?

Which kid is J. J.? Georalyn seems cheerful, a little swagger

in her walk, arms flung out to embrace Ronnie

And there the son stands, next to the other

presumed biological Dad.

 

But the woman isn’t Georalyn. She tells them she’s Jen.

“Is that Cheryl? Are you Billy’s office friend?”

 

 

 


Witness

Pastel drawing of Planet Earth, Mars, and the Moon playing cards in the style of the Poker DogsGravity Hold the Moon

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(2021, Stephanie Foster)

 

 

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