8 April 2009 | Vol. 9, No. 1

Packing Tape

Descendant of Puritans, packing tape vouchsafes little intelligence of its overseas journeys. In the desk drawer it's mum,

set to do the job. As my father asks no questions of his breakfast: "It fills the stomach."

Prepare to bind mightily the flaps of your box. (Inside, some fragile thing afloat in shredded paper.)

With the first pull the roll makes a hurt growl. Strap the long sides quickly, and the tape sounds like fish slapping a deck; ease the last inches round the edge, hear child-hands patting wet sand. The roll's mean spaniel teeth bite off any length precisely.

Now even if dropped—down the long front steps, say—the box will keep secret its contents.

A hundred cartons, sealed thusly, gleam in post office bins—the sole glamour of packing tape being its shine, slick as lipgloss on a teenage daughter.

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About the author:

Joy Katz's two poetry collections are Fabulae and The Garden Room. Recent work appears or will soon in APR, Seneca Review, and Washington Square. She teaches poetry writing at NYU.

For further reading:

See the complete list of work by Joy Katz at 42opus. Browse the contents of 42opus Vol. 9, No. 1, where "Packing Tape" ran on April 8, 2009. List other work with these same labels: poetry, prose poem.

42opus is an online magazine of the literary arts.

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