Packing

I started with a list

bigger than my room

and that wasn’t even

including my shoes.

Who knows what I’ll need,

maybe this, maybe that.

Should I bring my umbrella

or my polka dot hat?

 

After cramming and smashing

in all that I own,

I yank at the zipper

busting seams, veins, and bone.

Yet the lips of my suitcase

inflexibly refuse to kiss,

pressuring me to rethink

packing all of it.

 

I pull everything out

to start over again,

piling precious possessions

to feed this hungry friend

mouth gaping open,

teeth ready to dig in,

to consume all I’ve collected

through Life’s many whens.

 

I rummage through sweaters

selecting my favorite few,

dwindling my scarf collection

in order to make room

for a crumpled drawing

from a long-distance friend

that did its own traveling

before reaching my hand.

 

A few favorite photos

of those I hold dear,

and the worn, yellowed T-shirt

from vacation one year,

with stained pits from sweat

and sweet memories

of a week spent with Grandpa

before cancer’s victory.

 

An old diary, reread

hundreds of times,

written at age 8

through sleep-heavy eyes,

hardly comprehensible from

profuse spelling errors,

yet pure in its portrayal

of my young heart’s prayers.

 

I am not my possessions –

but some possessions are me,

and I choose to make room

in my suitcase for these,

these precious piles

perfect and precise

in their disorganized

representation of life.

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