Poetry from Mara Lee Grayson

Photo: Rob Laughter

The Veteran I Met in Reparatory

He was handsome for an older man with scars.
Rumors hopped from mouth to mouth backstage.
We were always trying on the truth,
never fully comfortable without a costume.

Rumors hopped from mouth to mouth backstage.
I knew what it was like to be an actor,
never fully comfortable without a costume.
His scar looked deeper under the stage light.

I knew what it was like to be an actor.
Soldiers were a different story.
His scar looked deeper under the stage light.
I closed my eyes.

Soldiers were a different story.
I knew your old man, the old man said
I closed my eyes,
but it hadn’t happened yet.

I knew your old man, the old man said.
This was the year the towers fell,
but it hadn’t happened yet.
It separated men like him from men my father knew.

This was the year the towers fell.
I was raised not to believe in violence.
It separated men like him from men my father knew.
He kissed my forehead gently, like a father does.

I was raised not to believe in violence.
His hand was warmer than I’d expected it to be.
He kissed my forehead gently, like a father does.
You take direction well, he said.

His hand was warmer than I’d expected it to be.
He was handsome for an older man with scars.
You take direction well, he said.
We are always trying on the truth.
.

.
Mara Lee Grayson is a writer and educator originally from Brooklyn, New York. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Mobius, Columbia Journal, Poetry Northwest, Sierra Nevada Review, and elsewhere. She is the author of two books of scholarship and is an assistant professor of composition and rhetoric at California State University, Dominguez Hills. Website: maragrayson.com. Twitter: @maraleegrayson.

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