The Shop Across the Street
by Sandy McIntosh

First it was a shoe shop.
      The shoemaker so poor,
he slept on the floor
      and resoled customer’s shoes
with cardboard.


When it was a clothing store
      the young owner
decorated her window
      with grace and invention,
one spring hanging a sign
      “Just Married!”
and posing manikins
      as bride and groom
holding pictures
      of her own wedding.
Another spring
      her sign read:
“It’s a boy!” and she dressed
      her manikins
in blue
      surrounding them
with toys.
      For Halloween,
she costumed the manikins
      with sinister masks.
But in December,
      when she dressed them
in Christmas finery,
      she neglected to remove
the sinister masks—
      which troubled us
as we ate our breakfast
      and watched
from the café across the street.
      Later, she hung a sign:
“Divorced.  Closing Store.”
      She’d stripped the window
and abandoned the manikins
      to their nakedness.
Under the stark
      neon streetlamp
they glared at us:
      Arctic snow.


Now the shop
      is run by a man
selling buttons.
      He has swiveling reptilian eyes
and dresses formally,
      a lengthy metal chain
from a window curtain
      as a watch fob
on his polka-dotted vest.

                   —for Peter Blair


Sandy McIntosh’s collections of poetry include The After-Death
History of My Mother
, Between Earth and Sky, Endless
, Earth Works, Which Way to the Egress?, and two
Obsessional and Monsters of the Antipodes.  “The
Shop Across the Street” is part of a book titled
Guaranteed Ways to Escape Death
(forthcoming September
2007).  McIntosh’s prose includes
Firing Back with Jodie-Beth
From a Chinese Kitchen, and The Poets in the Poets-in-
.  His poetry and essays have been published in The
New York Times
, Newsday, The Nation, the Wall Street
, American Book Review, and elsewhere.  Previously,
McIntosh was Managing Editor of
Confrontation magazine
(published by Long Island University), and he is currently Managing
Editor of Marsh Hawk Press.

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Apple Valley Review:
A Journal of Contemporary

ISSN 1931-3888

Volume 2, Number 1
(Spring 2007)

Copyright © 2007
by Leah Browning, Editor.  

All future rights to material
published in the
Valley Review
are retained
by the individual authors
and artists.