Down in a gully beside the house, a pine crate

had been set on concrete blocks and painted green,

window roughed out, hole drilled in the corner for a drain.

Narrow shelves were stacked with jars of colorless frogs,

earthworms, fetal mice; a plywood bench held

glass pipettes, white powder, flasks and matches.

Not for girls, my father had said, but I went in anyway

to smoke Tiparillos stubs gleaned from the house.

One day while leaning back in the pink vinyl chair

I spied him arching bottles over the fence,

pitching them out of his briefcase into the woods.

Years later I switched off the microscope and left

my high black bench, hung a white coat behind the door

and bucked traffic along the Hudson to the Montrose VA.

I took him out to Denny’s where, between a milkshake,

sweet black coffee and half a pack of Cools,

he spiced up the usual jokes about the guy in prison,

his heart up on a shelf in an unlabeled jar.


Victoria Korth is a poet and practicing psychiatrist living in Western New York. She holds a Masters Degree in Creative Writing from SUNY Brockport and is currently enrolled in the MFA program at Warren Wilson College. Her poetry, inspired by nature and the human psyche, has appeared in Spoon River Review, Pirene’s Fountain, Worcester Review, Barrow Street and elsewhere. Her chapbook Cord Color was published with Finishing Line Press in 2015.

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