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poetry by j matthew waters

An uncertain smile


I swear it was Stan sitting there
in the Iowa City ped mall
full head of hair and black beard no less
complete with Salem in hand

He appeared to be drawing
charcoal pencil on cotton paper
backpack and camera strapped across
bench made of iron and wood

Of course it couldn’t possibly be him
afterall it will be nineteen years
this summer since Stan
had vanished into thin air

I wanted to walk up to him
and ask him twenty questions
ending with exactly why he went away
and was it really the right decision

He must have detected my stare
and before I turned to face the crowd
I tried to put on a smile
he waving back with great uncertainty





january two thousand eighteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

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2 thoughts on “An uncertain smile

  1. blak asper on said:

    He probably wanted to walk up to you and ask you 20 questions too.

    I love the sound in the second stanza — the way the words jumble and rub up against each other as inanimate objects.

    The ending makes me wonder if he thinks you’re the one who disappeared.

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