Brad Kavo

Tin Can Man



of urgency

travel upstairs


they whisper,

heads huddled

close by,

like mice,

so small,

set deep

within their nest,


safe from

giant shovels,


My breathing

slows to stillness

as I wait

for crinkling

pillow fibers

to quiet so

I can imagine

my hearing

grow longer,

more direct,

like superpowers,

a tin can

placed anywhere

my mind


Tin Can Man:

With his

supersonic hearing,

knows all.













Now, its path

leads from

my bed,

through the

crack in the door

where a splinter

of yellow

nightlight cuts


my floor,

down the hall

and steps,

taking a right—

no, a left—

into our

dining room

where they

sit close,

alone, arms


each other.

I place

my other can

between them

and listen.


Jeff let me

go today.

Only me.

Don’t know

why. Then:

We’ll sell


the van,

the extra TV,

our dignity.











Most of what

they say

escapes me,

yet when

I hear dad

cry and

mom say


in a voice

weak as a

mouse, I drop

my can


and turn

over on

my pillow,

away from

my bedroom

door to

face the wall,

not caring

what noise

I make

because it’s

tough sleeping

with even

a splinter

of light


your sight.


Superhero stuff

is made up




Brad Kavo is a high school English teacher of American literature, British literature, and film. Over the past twelve years, he has helped his students focus on literary analysis and writing. A graduate of Penn State University, where he studied education and literature, he now enjoys photography, writing, and traveling. His poetry has been published in journals such as Lines + Stars and War, Literature, and the Arts (WLA), among others, and he is excited for his work to be included in Ninth Letter. He lives in Pittsburgh with his wife Natalie and her cat, Linus.