Visitors from Another Era
by Kevin Ridgeway

Vera and Minnie argue over
their 1920s high school years,
their liver spotted fists gripping
mugs that overflow with black
coffee that splashes over the
abandoned symbolism of Minnie's
solitaire game in bulbous drops.

Vera's common law husband
Walter McGee waves me over
to their camper in the driveway,
where I shake hands with the
threaded paws of an Arabian
monkey doll, an ancient gift
a long dead spinster weaved
for him when he was a kid that
has a horrific smiling face painted
onto a spheric visage of plastic
that does not leave me; even
when I close my eyes, he's there
in nickelodeon flashes.

Vera and Minnie finish comparing
memories scrubbing the floor of
a Montana vaudeville stage when
they were still immigrants, bickering
over the marquee names of forgotten
headliners they snuck in to see,
and I can almost smell the ancient
stale aroma from all the faded antique
relics of the eerie black and white
pantomime shadow world that these
strange wrinkled people all come from.

Illya's Honey Literary Journal

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