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He Promised Greater Adventures in Northern Florida

Sandra Simonds

under a black bed linen he nicknamed “morgue breath”
and laughed incessantly. Wore a necklace of rouge

medications, asked to borrow my favorite lipstick and $200
for a rendezvous with his papa whom he fed pear soup

(through a feeding tube I named “Old Saint Nick.”)
Whatever plan he had for botanizing the blackgums,

the Titi and the small-fluted pawpaw, dissolved late one
night in his reminiscence of other women—much younger—

I’ll admit, and when I said, “Leader of the Slavic Languages
Department, won’t you at least go to Albertsons with me?”

he replied, “The footpath from the north unit’s picnic area
leads to Lemon Hole, one of the park’s favorite snorkeling spots.”

Men and women sent him packages of exotic fruits with pre-
stamped return envelopes wherein he emptied the contents

on a trampoline specifically reserved for his papa’s
exercise regime. I grew distant and stole books from his shelf

while he took naps in the refrigerator. I realized
that I was closer to his dog, Pedro, than I would ever be to him.

One July evening when the sky turned the color of a Peacock feather
and he was passed out on a Lake Ella park bench I decided

to take Pedro and the outgoing tide of the Waccassa Bay
State Preserve, slept in the arms of a saw palmetto, awoke

to a whip-poor-will whose ribbon-like movements
streamed through the tape grass. What would become of us?

Wild rice, white flowers and a cold spring.

Sandra Simonds

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