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The William Gilmore Simms Prize

Thomas L. Johnson

Sign of the Mona Lisa: List

The Sign of the Mona Lisa Motel, Fallen in Camden

The signs are everywhere—the signs
of love, the signs of fall. She lies,
for instance, in a ditch near town,
prostrate on the ground and decked out
only in that revolutionary
smile of hers: the sad sweet grin
which bids a man to leave it all
for her and enter into battle.
I don' t need to spend a little
time where Merrie Englande passed
a losing day. I want to throw it
all away—the day, the year,
a lifetime—putting back that face
and staying where two lips and eyes
like those gaze out at me and speak
in loving silence, or in words.

Sign of the Mona Lisa: Text
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