by A.M. Broadous
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.