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(For Suzanne)

I drove by your home today

Your flag out front appeared amiss

"Erika, the Red" still in the driveway

Was the flag a sign of some distress?

Perhaps for the country you swore to defend

In 2016 the returns came in

You spoke with pride as a veteran

Celebrations aside, the world turned grim.

Or was your flag a sign instead

Of your widowed life these past nine years

Declining health, a foreboding dread

Between the sad and silent tears.

Neither plans for projects, nor poetry

Nor community of friends could quiet the din

Growing old alone you'd not foreseen

Now you're reunited with your dear Charlynn.

While your voice is stilled and quiet, my friend

Your passing peaceful, spirit strong

We'll remember you by stroke of pen

And mourn your absence and singular song.

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Lori Cole

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