In the Sixties before Seat Belts and Dr. Philby Sharon Waller Knutson
That’s my school, he says pointing
to a sprawled out building where
children run and play on the grounds.
You’re a liar, his teenage mother trills
from the front seat. What a dummy.
Your school is in Manhattan Beach.
It looks like your school, doesn’t it?
I tell the toddler sitting between us
in the back seat of the Pontiac.
You are blind, Blondie. See the sign:
Santa Monica City Limits, my then
mother-in-law says with a smirk.
Hatred of the male child, her son
says as we build sand castles
with our nephew while they shop.
They don’t like me, the curly haired
cherub says as he plows his fist
into the twin towers and they collapse.
I like you both, I say and lift my
nephew in the air as his uncle
tackles me and we fall laughing.
I want to live with you, he begs
and my heart sinks like the sand
as he stands in the doorway crying.
I wonder if we had turned around
we could have prevented the disaster
that destroyed all of our lives.
* * * * *
Sharon Waller Knutson is a retired journalist who lives in Arizona. She has published several poetry books including My Grandmother Smokes Chesterfields (Flutter Press 2014) and What the Clairvoyant Doesn’t Say and Trials & Tribulations of Sports Bob (Kelsay Books 2021.). Her work has also appeared in Black Coffee Review, Terror House Review, Trouvaille Review, One Art, Mad Swirl, The Drabble, Gleam, Spillwords, Muddy River Review, Verse-Virtual, Your Daily Poem, Red Eft Review, The Five-Two and The Song Is…