Box in a Closet

By Faith Shearin

Featured Art by Emil Carlsen

I open a box
in a closet and here I find us,
stuck in scenes long forgotten: my uncle

disappearing down an oak alley
in a horse-drawn carriage,
my grandmother dressed for a garden party,

gloves to her elbows, posed in a stiff
southern parlor, 1953. Here is the trip
to Disney World where we drank from

plastic oranges, held balloons
with ears; oh, we grow younger
on beaches, until we are babies, naked

on blankets, and my grandfather
rises from the grave to sit
in a wood-paneled living room,

on a plaid couch, in a fedora.
I find my cousins beneath cypress trees,
in a river at sunset, and my sister,

age eight, dressed as a mosquito,
on her way to a costume party.
The van that floated away

in a hurricane reassembles itself in our
driveway and my father’s dog,
ten years dead, rides over the lagoon

where she will someday drown,
in a canoe: October falling,
my father’s hair black, his paddle

still in his hands.


Faith Shearin’s books include: The Owl Question (May Swenson Award), Telling the Bees (SFA University Press), Orpheus, Turning (Dogfish Poetry Prize), Darwin’s Daughter, and Lost Language (Press 53). She has received awards from Yaddo, The National Endowment for the Arts, and The Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown. Recent work has been read aloud on The Writer’s Almanac and included in American Life in Poetry. Her newest book, Lost Language, was released by Press 53 in November of 2020.

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