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“Fiction is a lie.

Good fiction is the truth inside the lie.” – Stephen King

I saw a man holding a sign that said he just lost his job, and bottled water was only a dollar.  I gave him a dollar and he gave me this poem.  Soon to be published on a cool site.


Fellow Man

The weathered cardboard sign was nothing novel.
Neither was the location at the Carson exit
Off the 605. But his message was.

Help laid-off father.
Fresh, ice cold bottled water.
Only a dollar.

I immediately admired him
For the candor of his words.
And for his boldness utilizing
Assonance in a haiku.

The rain wasn’t predicted that Father’s Day.

I’m certain the man and his dad
Went fishing in the Potomac many years ago,
The man a young boy filled with dejection
As the uncooperative worm,
Not wanting to die,
Squirmed off the hook countless times.

I’m certain his father
Gently grasped and lifted his son’s head,
Looking the boy in his eyes
The color of anticlimactic sunrise
Telling him not to give up,
The worm would soon tire,
And have no choice but to sacrifice himself
So his son wouldn’t die
Such a slow, writhing death.

Because the man paced the embankment
Waving frigid bottles next to
Unsympathetic thunderclouds
Baiting motorists stopped at the red light,
While drivers nervously fumbled
With their presets,

As if they’ve never been thirsty,
In all their lives.


About Daniel Romo

Author of Apologies in Reverse (FutureCycle Press, 2019), When Kerosene's Involved (Mojave River Press, 2014) and Romancing Gravity (Silver Birch Press, 2013). I'm partial to prose poems. Alliteration. And fragments.

3 responses »

  1. Mark- quite sad huh?
    Joseph- Thank you. I’m very proud of this one.

  2. Yup. I know the scene well. And your depiction adds to the haunting feel of it all.

  3. It’s a particularly moving subject, and I like all the pieces leading through it – the embedded haiku and your reaction, especially, that’s just charming – but the finish is the best part, in my opinion. That image of the drivers and the unsympathetic thunderclouds… perfect!


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