Relic

by Andrew Broadous

May 2019

The antique shop keeps wooden doors

unhinged, stripped of their satin luxury.

A bathtub is swimming with anchors

and chains, dozens of prickly red breaths

inching toward some abandoned vessel.

The log walls of this cabin teem with

 

China dolls, matchboxes, magazines

not yet Playboy, yellowed parchment

fond of French vanilla and almond.

This broken seashell has seen it all—

exchange students pacing the aisles,

a family that simply cannot decide.

 

What do I listen for when I press her

to my ear? Does she still have ukuleles

hidden in the margins of her skeleton?

I almost hear a boy too far out for his

own good. If this boy is me, this silver

speck is Sanibel Island, albino frogs,

 

and sand dollars. Is my youth still

on the shore? Shelves, the shell

corrects. Where you look but don’t

touch, where doors are shut and their

brass knobs are as cold as the sea.

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