Literary Yard

Search for meaning

‘Guest of Honor’ and other poems

By Karen Lee Stradford

Guest of Honor

We hasten to the lobby,
Coats hang on arms
waiting to get checked in.
A hostess directs us to the ballroom,
large purple and gold
latex balloons sway
in opposite directions.
Rectangular tables
set in rows
with padded chairs.

The smells of
fried chicken and marinara sauce
fills the air.
We wait for
the chance
to stand
in the buffet line.

The dance floor is empty.
The music plays a loud beat.
The build up is intense
as we wait
for the party to officially begin.

The guest of honor is
but the presence
of his poster size portrait
the room.


I’m being chased
around the playground.
Confused, upset, wondering why
Negative comments are whispered
in my ear.

The pressure is gaining on me.
I’m looking for someplace to hide.
In a distance, I can see a lady with-
a clipboard and a whistle
putting a Band-Aid on Reggie’s knee.

I circle around
looking for a safe space
but all I can see is the bully
following me.
I feel a sense of relief
as I pick up speed.

The lady with the clipboard and whistle
is closer.
I cling to her legs
like a koala bear to a tree.
She wrapped her arms

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