It's just poetry, it won't bite

The Shoebox

05.13.13 Posted in today's words by

Andrew Badger’s poem Human Condition appeared here in July 2012.

The Shoebox
By Andrew Badger

The lid’s muted letters proclaimed Thom McAn
while the end stated boldly size triple E nine–
below which was scrawled in my grandmother’s script
“And never a soul can e’er return to now silent streets.”

Old age had quite ravaged that flimsy shoebox
stuffed full of much tattered, mysterious scenes:
strange places and people in costumes gone-by
who smile at us still with wide sepia grins.

Like children from school on a warm summer’s day,
a riot of photos cascaded to freedom.
We spread them out under a dim attic light
to gaze at old moments revealed once again.

Our genealogical search had begun.
But nothing appeared to support our wild guess
of who might be Granny and who Uncle Bill;
not a word, not a date, did we see on the backs.

Her mem’ries just stared at us mute and immobile–
conjunctions of merriment, meaningless now–
young faces, raised bottles, long skirts all atwirl,
unbuttoned boys’ shirts, acoustic guitars and blurred limbs.

The box held no portraits, no pictures from school,
no family reunions, nor elders nor kids.
Just Granny and friends in the revels of youth
released from a shoebox long after her death.

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