Two Poems

All night he dreamed
about his PO box
tucked securely row twelve,
column sixteen, the numbers
brass-plated on its face, a beige
deadpan. As he lifted diapers

off thrusting thighs, caught Sissy
as she dove from the mantle piece,
spread peanut-butter and jelly
on six slices of bread, he imagined
the key between his fingers, its contact
with the box making a jangle of sound.

In the hour it took to get the twins
in their stroller, Jamie's bear rescued
from the laundry hamper, Sissy's tears
dammed and the tricycles rolling so he
could make the short trek downtown,
he had unlocked that box eleven times
although none of those compared

to the actual moment he held the key
against his thumb, inserted it and twisted
the latch till it lifted, then touched the sleek
envelope sprawled in the darkness,
her photograph between scented silk

His Father

The trooper on the doorstep caught
her still in her pajamas
and all that mattered instantly
was having their son with her
was holding David to her
before he got to the schoolyard
where a teacher would have heard
If she had turned further to the left
she would have grabbed a sweater
and not taken her bathrobe off the hook
not worn its peppermint laughter
the flush of tears burning to her jaw
as she pedaled with the traffic
sorting through the children
as they went streaming over sidewalks
till she saw their boy on Kenting Road
saw his yellow sweatshirt
and wanting to compress the space
stretched like a grave between them
she coasted up the curb then braked
and dropped her bike before him
His face twisting with surprise
his mouth a drawbridge falling
made her wish she could hit rewind
and erase the entire morning
for she knew now he would always wear
this Christmas candy bathrobe
and these words like bullets behind her teeth
that she couldn't swallow down

Shoshauna Shy