By James Lineberger

As I get you down from the closet shelf
and unwrap the brown shipping paper
to the square white box inside
I lift the lid for the first time and stick my fingers
deep inside you /
What does she feel like Barbara says and I say go on
see for yourself but she shushes me
and leads the way out back
to where the creek used to run
and we just do it quickly without any words
because words are a foolish way of asking forgiveness
for these five years we’ve left you
up there stacked amid the empty shoe boxes
and children’s playthings /
But now with both hands
I swing the box like sand in a pail
and scatter you
into the overhead cave of the old Judas tree
where your tiny parts
glow for a flickering moment
like early snow /
And Barbara whispers
yes Patsy I know
still trying to find your way home again
just like the whole rest
of your life
without somebody’s arm to hold on to

James Lineberger is a retired playwright and screenwriter. His poetry has appeared in Boulevard, The Cortland Review, The Main Street Rag, UCity Review, Natural Bridge, Pembroke Magazine, Quarter After Eight, Free State Review, B O D Y, and Misfit Magazine.

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