by Andrew 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, with its laughter like
colorful toy boats carried on waves
lapping against the tub. Water rings
remain where I once asked and the
shell politely answered. But now she
has fallen silent, the doors are shut,
their brass knobs as cold as the sea.