Beth Boylan – The List



“Oh, I’d love to see The Great Gatsby,” my mother sighs,
“Well, we’ll just have to put it on the list,” replies my father,

as if taking your wife to the movies has any business
being squeezed onto a decades-old list of To-Do’s–

paint house, trim trees, book a cruise—I need air

so excuse myself and make my way past

the dusty sealed windows, curtains, silk flowers,

and the computer humming upstairs, where he plays office.
Another storm is struggling to show, blowing at the spruce
that has fattened since I sat in the sun here
reading The Sheltering Sky all those summers ago—

its branches grasp toward the roof and gutters

as raindrops sputter onto the patio,

which has begun to fade and rust at the edges—

“It’s only in theaters ‘til Monday,” I shudder aloud to no one
before going back in.


Beth Boylan, a poet originally from New York, now lives in the Asbury Park area of New Jersey. She received her M.A. in literature from Hunter College and teaches English and writing at a local high school and college.



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