Former Mistress of President Comes Clean at 68

by Lois Marie Harrod


Art by Peter Roman

So she pulls the shriveled corsage from the dresser drawer,
carnation tawdry yellow, long skin of arms,

all that is left of the wild dance, no pictures, no two
together, apart, yes, how could she help herself,

not that she wanted to, she wanted him, yes, but taken so,
overpowered, as if she had given no permission, Leda

and the swan, deniability riding into Washington
for an assignation, reading Madame Bovary in the back seat

of the taxi, nothing like her, no, not really, she was young,
our own innocence, the only innocence we remember,

telling a friend or two, thinking he had picked her alone—
later, the humiliation: so many called, so many chosen.

Lois Marie Harrod’s 13th and 14th poetry collections, Fragments from the Biography of Nemesis (Cherry Grove Press) and the chapbook How Marlene Mae Longs for Truth (Dancing Girl Press) appeared in 2013. The Only Is won the 2012 Tennessee Chapbook Contest (Poems & Plays), and Brief Term, a collection of poems about teachers and teaching was published by Black Buzzard Press, 2011. Cosmogony won the 2010 Hazel Lipa Chapbook (Iowa State). She is widely published in literary journals and online ezines from American Poetry Review to Zone 3. She teaches creative writing at The College of New Jersey. Read her work at