“Keychain Peep Show” by William Trowbridge

William Trowbridge


I found it in my parents’ room.
center-bottom dresser drawer,
beneath the socks: a little plastic scope
with a naked woman posed inside,

breasts uplifted, red hair flowing down,
a globe balanced on one shoulder,
like Atlas in my Classics comic book
and seeming from that nether world.

I peeped and peeped again, felt brash
as Peeping Tom, who eyed Godiva’s
plenty as she rode through Coventry,
past discreetly shuttered windows;

randy as the lecher leering
at his master’s wife undressing
in the nickel peep show classic
What the Butler Saw; licentious

as those elders ogling Susanna
at her bath among the honeysuckle.
But I felt more like Howard Carter
at his first peep through the door

to Tutankhamun’s shadowed chambers
when asked if there was anything
inside to see. “Yes,” he said.
“Wonderful things.”

from Rattle #48, Summer 2015


William Trowbridge: “One day while studying for my PhD comps, I came across a group of Howard Nemerov poems in the old Brinnin and Read anthology. I was bitten, seriously bitten, couldn’t stop going back to them—their music, their intelligence, their electrical charge. And then I wrote a poem. That afternoon, I was, to use a John Crowe Ransom word, ‘transmogrified’ from a budding scholar into a seedling poet. But I had neither the time nor the money to go through an MFA program. So, after graduation and in my ‘spare time’ from teaching, I continued my poetry-writing education in the college of monkey-see-monkey-do, happily learning from the poems of great, hand-picked tutors. I still attend.” (website)

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