By the Wayside

On the Jersey Shore in Cape May there’s a motel called

By the Wayside.

Out front there’s a 20 foot statue of Peter Pan

which the owner built

because he said every time  he looked at it

he was reminded of happy endings.


Moira the motel lady, that’s how I’m known.

Lots of year-rounds as we call them,

tenants who call this home.

In Room 2B there’s a tiny Japanese man from San Francisco

who has a compulsion to check envelopes before sealing them

to make sure his daughter isn’t inside.

He lives in constant terror

that he will mail her away forever.


The gorgeous Josh one floor above bartends nights

at a restaurant down the shore

where he says he’d never be caught dead

under normal circumstances.

But nothing’s been normal he says since

Manhattan’s theatre world hung him out to dry.

Alice next to the office visits to have her makeup done on slow nights.

She left her husband of 30 years

the day she found his note to her on the kitchen table

signed with both his first

and last name.


The pain is in the details, the small things.

It’s in the smell of baby aspirin

and in watching a mother stoop down to painstakingly

wipe her child’s dirty face.

It’s in a line of baby clothes hanging outside to dry.

In the sound of her name:


We were shoe shopping.

I was filling the parking meter and she stepped away

for an instant,

And I moved from that life to this,

my husband’s anger still  loud in my head.

where summers are a blur and where

in winter

it is easy to disappear.


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Writer and Poet

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Tricia McCallum

Always be a poet. Even in prose.
Charles Baudelaire.

In essence I am a storyteller who writes poems. Put simply, I write the poems I want to read.[…]

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