Apr/May 2003 Poetry Special Feature

Skipping School—Abrams, WI—November 1975

by Michael Spice


Skipping School—Abrams, WI—November 1975

A misplaced shoe
got him out of school.
He shivers, one foot bare
in the chrome-clad fifty-nine caddy
that grandpa drives, his brother
playing with the electric window
in the rain and laughing.

The clerk finds some sneakers
in a red box in the back;
it's the only store in town.
He sits on a bench near a washtub
full of bleach, a furry brush
floating in it like a sea monster
in a murky ocean.

The shoes fit; canvas trompers
aren't much good on a rainy day
but are better than wet socks.
In the garage where grandma
brews coffee, below a small
card table, an old electric heater hums,
its spiral coils glowing orange-red.

His brother's face is powdered
from sugar donuts
they dunk into white foam cups
full of whole milk, the radio plays
Big Band, grandma works
a crossword, grandpa winks
and sips weak coffee.


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