A Poetry Sporadical of Repeating Forms

Upon Leaving the House of Cards

by Ed Shacklee

I’ll pack the toys away: the baby doll
I later disavowed, my bat, a ball
I rarely hit, but chased, a bathtub ship,
one arrow shaft without its rubber tip,
the car that went so fast but was so small—

mementos like the trophies on the wall,
old matchbooks from some pubs I used to crawl,
the handcuffs and the nice but naughty whip.
I’ll pack the toys away,

but wonder where one gets the wherewithal
to weather blasts I’d rather not recall.
The comic mask is on, but wants to slip,
and nervous laughter greets the cutting quip;
so now, before the house of cards can fall,
I’ll pack the toys away.

Ed Shackleeis a public defender who represents young people in the District of Columbia. His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in 14 by 14, Able Muse, Light Quarterly, and The Raintown Review, among other places.


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