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About The Box On The Front Step

January 3, 2012

by Rina Terry

When it was delivered is as much
a conundrum as the leaves falling
in July with the cantaloupe patch
still flowering and weaving its tendrils
through the swamp lavender. She

came unexpectedly and tripped over
the box. We were so busy sanitizing
and bandaging her knees and elbows
it went forgotten for days until
the strange tapping and bulging

began. Now she is wishing for
a drawbridge and moat, one
with odd creatures all jaw and teeth,
and the remainder a whipping tail
with spikes and bulbous warts,

and calling me at all hours of the night,
except when the moon is full
and there is so much light, the box
casts its shadow across the entire
neighborhood. It doesn’t belong to
anyone else and why this invasive

curiosity who can tell. If I choose
to leave it there, an ordinary,
bulging, rhythmic cardboard box,
until the trumpets sound, what
is it to mortals, or to angels even
but she has become obsessed
with what is none of her business,

reported it to the authorities, home-
land security and the bomb squad
have taken up residence, at a safe
distance away in the landscaping
stones that make it more difficult
to do the perpetual weeding. Now
she is peering from behind the
blinds and making obscene gestures

and I’ve grown excessively fond
of the box and prefer mystery over
the selective literalism of those who
lead their lives according to one holy
book or another. I’ve installed a sign
on my front lawn:


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Rina Terry is an ordained United Methodist Minister who spent most of her clergy career as a prison chaplain at a state, adult male facility. She is passionate about jazz and restorative justice. She now lives, works and writes in Cape May, New Jersey.

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  1. January 5, 2012 at 12:57 pm

    Terrific poem–leaves us with so much to think about…
    The final lines–funny, original–love them.

  2. August 9, 2012 at 1:48 pm

    When are we doing that poetry reading with music?

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