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A poem for Memorial Day from Jeffrey Owen Pearson

Memorial Day, 1955
by Jeffrey Owen Pearson

That picture of you in our 1953 Pontiac
parked outside the Chicago brownstones

It was after the cemetery
on Decoration Day
After Aunt Florene’s cigarettes
After Uncle Tony’s Stag beer

You in your ribbed t-shirt
flexing your muscles

Sent you outside by Mom’s scowl—
or maybe the heat—
where you listened to the 500
on the radio with the car doors open

Someone’s racecar went over the back wall
You went over the fence
Mom swore you’d be back by dark

Tony brought wine and Italian bread
from the basement refrigerator—
we called it Hunka-Bunka bread—

As you waltzed in and spun Mom
to “Fly Me to the Moon”

The moon itself leaning like Sinatra
at the end of a long, long alley
above all the red and the white and the blue

Bio: Jeffrey Owen Pearson’s poems appear in So It Goes, Reckless Writing Anthology, Tipton Poetry Journal, Flying Island and Maize. His chapbook Hawaii Slides was published by Pudding House Publications. A member of the Midwest Writers Workshop, he lives in Muncie.