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Selected Poems by Juanice Myers

Updated: Feb 20, 2019


The industrial park

has a beautiful pond

And a male and female

swan to paddle around

in it.

Each spring, they have eggs

and, in late May, bring forth

an ugly duckling who

becomes their world as it

follows around behind them.

But, after a week or so, each

baby dies.

The official word is muskrats—

not large enough to be a threat

to parents, but big enough to

get the babies.

So, each year, the swans

work hard so that,

for one week,

they can put all their energies

into a little something

not themselves.

And all they know of life and

love is that

A baby is something that comes

in the spring

And goes away

very quickly.


When I was in high school

we were always going to the drive-in

for Cokes and hamburgers.

One of the carhops was a woman

with faded red hair and a

Distinctive and somewhat sexy walk.

One time I heard someone whisper,

“That’s Johnny C’s mother.”

I did not know Johnny C well.

he wore a leather jacket

And greased his hair into a D.A.

We teenagers ate our french fries

and devoured our rock and roll

And noticed that Johnny C’s mother

had some teeth missing.

Even though our mothers were telephone

operators and teachers and store clerks,

I’m glad we never thought to make fun

of her.

I wish that I had known her name and

that teenagers of those days

Had known more about the wonderful

world of tips.


In my childhood,

my father had a friend

named Wallace.

I remember he had a

silly, giggly, wonderful

laugh and

he was always hitching

up his tool belt.

Also, there was a woman

named “Yates” who worked

the lunch counter at the drug

store during the day and

sold tickets at the movie

theatre at night.

I have no idea what

happened to Wallace.

Years later, I was told

that Yates was forced to

live with a daughter

who “didn’t really want her.”

Our lives are like

large hoops that touch

in small places.

We turn our heads

and glance at each other

for a few moments, then

remember only giggles

and movie tickets.


There is a deep chasm into which,

if people are the right type of people,

They can fall.

They become, if they are not careful,

support persons…

Male and female…

Oh, don’t underestimate their importance.

we cannot live without them and they

do, you realize, keep the earth

spinning on its axis.

You never marry them

or take them to bed…

You never kiss them…

except on the forehead

or the cheek…

And you only find them in your thoughts

if you have a problem that needs

to be solved…

But support people fill a need just

like a good dog

or a keg of beer

or a whore

And they are the least demanding

of the lot.

You don’t have to feed them

or buy them or

take them out on the town.

And, when you are through with them,

they just ease very naturally and simply

Out of your life and

back to where they were

when you found them.

And the best part of the whole thing

is that


If one of them starts to

drink a little more than usual or

stay out late or

even if this person does something really nutty

with razor blades or something…

You don’t have to worry because

you weren’t involved with him.

Thank God you didn’t do anything

to cause it.

In fact—now tell the truth—

didn’t you hardly know him?


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