One day Elaine began

when i went to the PO to mail back

my Zappos shoes, misguided notion

that I would wear walking shoes

they made my feet look like

clay pots

one day nine years ago

Elaine said and then

she repeated NINE YEARS for emphasis

Elaine talked to 198 Box Holders

in our small town

all day

one day Fred who works

at the Coxsackie post office asked if his girlfriend

could drop off her two boys

at our above ground pool.

It was pool hot and of course

I said sure. When I got home from work

the boys were there. Malik and John. Don’t

ask me why they called them that.

Their mother was gone.

Forever. Fred never saw her again either.

Maybe he’d guessed she heard I

was a good person. The boys never

saw her again. We hired

a detective but she seemed to vanish.

I went to court to adopt them.

Families, she said. I

love those boys.