Arts & Culture / The Reading Room / Vol. 2 No. 1-2

Specter and other poems

David Shrobe, Suitcased Brown

Image Credit: David Shrobe, Suitcased Brown, 2017, oil, acrylic, graphite, paper, fabric and mixed media on vintage suitcase suspended, 39 x 25 x 5 inches, Courtesy of the artist


Sometimes I dream him
but he is not beating me
with his words
telling me how to fix my hair
my clothes, my laugh,
telling me not to touch him.
He merely hovers
on the edge of everything,
reminding me
I am not good enough,
and in the midnight hour
when I am alone, turning in sleep,
he locks me in my young-bride
bedroom, keeps out every loving
word I’ve ever heard,
breaks all the new mirrors,
tells me I belong to him, still

Midnight Feeding

Every night, when I woke
to breasts that were already tingling
from the sounds of boiling cries,
he would be in the nursery,
arms a ladle, swirling to a simmer.

While one twin suckled
he stirred patiently,
each night, like penance,
grandfathering every moment
as if he had just discovered
the love of children.

His son, having been seared
into a man who could service
a woman, bring forth offspring,
remained untenderized,
something unsavory and unseasoned,
fathering from the next room.

We set places in this way,
moved between nectar and salt,
hungry mouths and swollen breasts,
a family full of cold secrets
warmed by new lives;
all biding time until the freedom
of a sunrise breaking fast.

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