Fall 2009 / Issues / Poetry 2009 / Volume 40

Autumn Furlough 1943 — Jeanette I. Winthrop

Uncle Dave is home from the war to take

my brother and me to Revere beach

where we claim our childhood in happy

wandering. We search for shells

in the crusted sand, count our footprints

until we find, half-buried, a lobster trap

we want to dig up and lug through the subway.

Uncle Dave says No, standing between the ocean

and the boulevard, Lobsters always find

themselves in traps they can’t escape.

Next summer, from across the world,

he’ll send a letter from his new ship

and a snapshot of himself on deck, in uniform,

a dark haired stranger in khaki standing beside

and a white and black terrier by their feet.

He’ll tell us just enough without telling

us anything. In the blank space

around them he’s printed :


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