In which a love poem disguises itself as a carry-on suitcase


Once it was red, currants and teaberries, the ochre-stain

of errant and wild. It followed, leashed dog, captured cat.

Kept up with her, didn’t watch her legs as she walked.

Made sure she didn’t forget the important things:

His sneeze from peppermint candy. Her road songs for the

hours through the Italian counryside. A single grape

fermenting to wine. The final phone call from her mother

saved in the side pocket, against that rejected poem

and the word dust. The stuffed rabbit with the orange-threaded

nose. The shine of a ring not lost in the sand of the Jersey shore.

Everyone knows the rest of this story.

Things grow old. They grow heavy.

The crimson fades to a pink like browning meat,

one leg goes broken, this biggest zipper lolls like

a silenced tongue. Everything spills from its dark spaces,

hanging in streamers like guts.


Someone asks how can you stand it?

And you touch the battered, heaving sides,

you dig into its darkest places and cut yourself

on a misplaced steak knife, need stitches from that

shard of a hissed argument on the train,

can’t remember why  you packed insecurity

and a vibrator in the same pocket.

I don’t know. 


Still, deeper, dig deeper. There is the ticket from Les Mis

The sound of his boots on the sidewalk in the rain

the time he ran after you. The curve of his cock

bulging from the front pocket. The curve of your neck

when his palm cups it. The curve of your life on a road

unexpected. The curve of the plane as it goes west to east.

The arch of your feet as they rest lightly, lightly,

on the most deliberate thing with which you carry on.


NOTES: Oops. My own prompt, and I’m a day late. Ah well, blame the travel schedule and the crazy personal week.

Read today’s prompt (as well as the inspiration beyond poem-a-day) over at Not Without Poetry. My goal is to write a poem each day in less than 20 minutes, and without additional revision beyond the writing experience.