Wannabe Mother

She could have been
I guess
Jan Scruggs’ mother
with her fading dolly-pink
lipstick,
helmet
of doctored blond curls,
heavy black-framed glasses
bedazzled with rhinestones
but she was so
small;
not that size disqualified
her, but she seemed so
lost
a dry whisper rattling in the
shushing trees
that buffered the Veterans’ Day
crowd snaking past the Wall;
he was her youngest she said
after all the others
and she always got to visit
him on Memorial Day,
of course on Veterans’ Day
and Christmas;
I really wanted the lady
with the heart-shaped
Jesus pin to be Jan’s
mother,
otherwise
she might be the mother
of one of them,
down past the three
patrolling soldiers,
down into the valley
where more
than enough dead
sons to go around
attend
eternity.

Constance Lee Menefee
Copyright 2000