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June 14: Plume

June 18, 2013


After a week herding two dozen teenagers
through Europe, watching them strut,
reminding them to speak softer, be safer.
At eighteen, they think everyone likes them
almost as much as they like themselves.
Everything is a punch line or a photo op.

For ten days, this motley crew behaves
like best friends, a feeling only I know
will dissipate when they get back home,
almost before they leave baggage claim.

While they might as well be at Disney
as they tour Leeds Castle and get lost
in the boxwood maze, they stop short
at the sight of a pure white peacock,
prancing, strutting, his tail plumes
fanned wide as he turns slow circles
stealing the attention they’ve craved.
Every camera in our crowd takes aim.

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