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Dear Steve
by Lucille Lang Day

Pink, blue and white balloons
were tied to the tables
for your sister's fiftieth birthday.
Your brother was there, and I met
the nephew named after you–

the only one missing.
Everyone had gained weight
except me. I'm so vain, I'll go
to my grave in a size six dress.
We all sang "Hotel California."

I can tell you a lot has changed:
babies are born addicted
to crack cocaine, eleven-year-olds
kill for gangs, and homeless
people sleep on city sidewalks.

After decades it's still easy to weep
for you, someone sweet and funny
who drove too fast at nineteen—
right off the road—and flew
through the windshield, the glass

amputating both legs, but it doesn't
only make me want to cry anymore.
No, it makes me seethe, the way
a punk kid makes me feel
as he swaggers down the street,

toting a gun, thinking he really can
get away with whatever he pleases.


from Wild One: Poems (Scarlet Tanager Books), by Lucille Lang Day.


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