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[tab title=”the day the sun came out”]the day the sun came out
By Phil Brown

no one knew what to expect
when the cloud cleared

no one could believe their eyes
when the great light swept down
engulfing all in its glimmering flash

but now the sound is gone
they noticed how dried leaves
rattle about on empty streets
like corn husks on an harvest afternoon

waiting for rain

Phil Brown is a Des Moines poet and a former newspaper reporter and columnist. His chapbook
“Some Poems” was published in 2012.[/tab]

[tab title=”At The Air Force Reunion”]
At The Air Force Reunion
Chaumont, France, July 4, 2006

By James A. Autry

A French woman is talking to me,
breath sour, teeth brown,
face fleshy, bosom heavy,
eyes sad, voice shaking,
“So hard for me this,” she is saying,
and tells me about the love of her life,
gone these fifty years:
“I had his baby then he married a German girl,”
she says in a tone that makes me understand
that here the war is never really over.
She is crying silently.
“So hard for me this,” she says.
“He was a pilot so tall so beautiful.”

I am remembering the missions,
practice bombing runs on imaginary targets,
intense days of nuclear possibility,
drunken nights in the officers’ club,
beer-drinking contests,
toasts to someone killed in an accident,
and of course the inevitable pilot talk
of sexual conquest.

She asks if I knew her pilot lover.
I say “No” yet I knew a dozen of him.
“I am looking for someone who knows him.
I want him to know he has a daughter,
and a grandson who is beautiful like him.”

She asks then if she may hug me.

So here we are, two seventy-somethings,
hugging and crying together,
And I am thinking,
there’s more than one kind of collateral damage.

James A. Autry is a Des Moines author and poet.
To read his “five rules for writing,” turn to page 97.[/tab]

[tab title=”The Gateway Colossus (2012)”]
The Gateway Colossus (2012) by Des Moines sculptor James Ellwanger, steel and copper. The 7,000-pound sculpture, located on the roof of Exile Brewing Company downtown, is a full-scale replica of the Statue of Liberty’s crown.

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Photo by Duane Tinkey

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