Roy Mash



for J. M.

Little papoose
riding in my back pocket,
little clam, little pal,
I love the tug
of you—
pale imprint
of who I am,
calm pull
of the always there.

Or is it me
that’s the papoose? You—
the dad
who always pays
for dinner,
the one
I never need to thank
or ever think
twice about.

This morning I panicked
again, finger-diving
every crease in the couch
while you—
you just sat there
on top of the dresser
where I’d left you
last night
with a mental note.

I pity women
with their purses
like canyons.
I pity you—
reincarnated there,
a chartreuse thing
with a fat snap,
lost in the commotion of keys,
lipstick, Kleenex, pennies.

Little loner, you—
little black
paladin of identity,
how deftly
the twenties slide
into place,
weathered lovers
into a leathered bed.

Ah, here’s the ferry now.
I reach back
with my finger and thumb,
reflexive as breath,
to lift you—
softwing, wornskin—
one more time
into the hard world.

First published in River Styx

Roy Mash lives and writes in Marin County, California. He holds a BA in English from University of Michigan, an MA in Philosophy and an MS in Computer Science from San Francisco State University. His poems have appeared widely in journals such as: AGNI Online, Atlanta Review, Barrow Street, The Evansville Review, Nimrod, Passages North, Poetry East, RHINO, and River Styx. His first full-length book, Buyer’s Remorse, is available from Cherry Grove Collections.