“Neighbors” by Stephen Morrow

Stephen Morrow


The UPS man delivers one more package
for someone else
and then climbs back into his brown truck
and pretends
all the packages in the back are for him.
So calming. Like a river inside a slipper.
I know a man who speaks fondly of horses.
But I’ve seen him use glue.
I’ve seen his daughter’s crafts,
and the eyes aren’t holding themselves to the paper.
It was too late when I learned
there’s a special stamp for postcards.
It was too late when I learned a lot of things.
Today I feel gentle.
The waves feel gentle, too
but their feelings do not match their façade,
and so they clear away several beams of the pier.
All the children’s dreams are intact—look,
there’s one now running with horses—
but the pier is in pieces,
and the UPS man is home now, alone now,
in a room shaped like an empty truck. 
What a letdown, this life.
But there’s hope, there’s hope inside his daughter
with eyes like highway flares,
so safe and full of direction
like a map inside a slipper.
There’s hope because
all the walls are covered with drawings of packages—
gifts from his daughter—
and horses.

from Rattle #66, Winter 2019


Stephen Morrow: “My brother and I once made a short film about a voice-over artist named Donald who permanently loses his voice. An analyst might look at that and say, ‘Ahh—yes—it’s quite clear—you write because you’re afraid that one day, like Donald, you will lose your voice.’ Something like that is probably true.”

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