They hang on a bent nail
In the garage
Or lie scattered
Amid matchbooks and loose change
In the nightstand drawer,
Bright brass and tarnished metal
Clustered on rings or solitary,
Their sets of ridged teeth
Like miniature sawed off
Mountain chains.
You no longer remember
What they open,
But hestitate to toss them
Into last night’s
Bones and peelings,
In hope that one of them
Might unlock
The door to your house in Queens
And you come sailing,
Fresh from school,
Into your mother’s arms,
Pressing your face into
Her warm damp apron
Scented with onions.

(originally published in Circa Review)



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