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Lydia

There was life before us

my sister and I discovered
looking at photographs

we shouldn't have been looking at
of the English girl my father

was engaged to during the war.
Here she is right in front of our eyes,

the woman before my mother,
in a black lace cocktail dress,

a cigarette in a holder,
pensive, earthy—waiting

in front of the carved wooden radio,
for news from the front.
This is the war, after all,
and here she is again, somewhere

on an English beach, draped
across my father's shoulder

all of her silky skin radiant
above the soft folds of sun dress.

They stand in front of a sign
that reads 'Seaside Cottages,

two dollars.' And here she is
again, painted onto the cockpit

of my father's plane with hardly
anything on at all, and here he is

in his flight jacket, looking
in fact, happy. My sister and I each

lift our pencils like cigarettes,
taking long sultry drags to puff
out invisible rings. They rise
in the air like silver nooses

that will catch our father
and hold him to us.

Submitted: Wednesday, April 11, 2012


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