Lies by Victor Henry

In college, he hears his favorite friends
Tell tall tales to strangers
Like Lyndon Johnson and J. Edgar Hoover
Tell the American public.

It is 1965.
Carlo, a goombah,
Sweet talks four women
At a community college dance.

Straight-faced, he spiels a line longer
Than the Maginot,
Says he works for CBS,
Training to be a newscaster.
These women believe him,
Hang on his words
Like he’s somebody important
I hear this,

Can’t believe it.
I take him aside,
Pull him in close,
Place my arms around his shoulders
Like a coach whispering plays
To his quarterback,
Lecture him not to lie like that.
Remind him

We went to Catholic school together.
He laughs as if he has come unhinged,
Looks at me with piercing eyes,
Says it comes easy for him,

Says he doesn’t have to work at it.
That it’s a gift from God.
Why tell the truth, he says?
Women are only going to believe

It’s a lie anyway.

Victor Henry
My poetry and prose poems have appeared in Misfit Magazine, Dead Snakes, Homestead Review, The Paterson Literary Review, Red River Review, and Slipstream, among others. My book What They Wanted was published last November 11th, Veterans Day, by FutureCycle Press in Lexington, Kentucky.

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