Paul Calandrino Playwright
stage lights

Spirit of Courage


Short Stories:
Man on Raft with Marmosets
Public Landing

Spirit of Courage

Green Dresser

Green Dresser

In my green dresser drawer
I kept dried tomatoes and sulphur,
and a postwoman in a pith helmet walking
on a day when the sun ran
from cloud to cloud and the asphalt
was fragrant with new rain,
I kept a birthday cake waiting
under fluorescent lights,
and cars waiting behind stop signs,
and boys and girls walking inside yellow lines,
I kept an assortment of rodents and basil leaves,
foreign coins alongside domestic pennies,
postcards from lovers who become other people,
I kept a child who smelled of cotton lint,
who was pink and dry on the tongue,
in my green dresser
I showed movies at night of men and women,
of straining and repetition,
of a teenager living
in a closet reeking of old socks,
and I kept finches with the smallest voices
and brittle twigs for legs,
I kept a window and two brothers
who wanted to get out and walk in their underwear
under the moon and eat yellow plums,
who wanted women to rub their skin
forever without responsibility,
who could not get away soon enough, who
could not get away period,
I kept a dead black cat with tractor tracks
in its stomach, and a paper diamond on a telephone wire,
its rag tail whipping,
and I kept a place in the forest where touching
felt different than in the bathroom or bedroom,
where you could find the skulls of small animals
in the forks of trees,
where an owl perched all day,
and where crayfish lived with sandstone
in cold water, and I kept a blue cave
where two dark triangles moved at night,
and I kept a boy dripping with shower water
waiting for a woman to bring him a towel,
and a dry boy being spanked by a woman
for being naked, and the corpses
of statesmen, and a man crying,
and fingers sewn together with fishing line,
and an imaginary boat, good enough for God
with a name like clear sky or strong hands.
When I gave my green dresser to my wife
she emptied its drawers and filled them
with lingerie and thermal underwear,
with pink and purple flowers.


Paul Calandrino
first published in Porter Gulch Review


Paul Calandrino