Anne Charlton 


Small Box

               after Jack Gilbert

The first night, carrying the small box
down an open road, I loved the angles 
of horizon. Later I shifted the box 
under my arm, then onto my shoulder. 
Finally all of me blistered. Now I am still 
walking and still I cannot muster any anger 
because in the box are my white sandals, 
no longer by his oxfords at the front door. 


My last defense / Is the present tense

               - Gwendolyn Brooks, “Old Mary”

My plans: sharing 
a ham biscuit for breakfast 
at Wallace Station 
on my days off with you

Now: forget
waiting for you. 
Forget waiting. 
I slide into the side 
of the booth
you’d take.

Back to the door, 
I eat our whole breakfast 
myself, without napkins
or silverware, grease & salt 
covering the hands I always 
kept clean for you.


Anne Charlton is a second-year MFA student in poetry at Vanderbilt University and literature columnist for PolicyMic. She graduated from Purdue University with a B.A. in English and Creative Writing. She was named a finalist in Yemassee’s 2013 Pocataligo Poetry Contest, and her work has been published in Yemassee, Toad the Journal, and A Clean, Well-Lighted Place.


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