….I have found the suitcase open, collecting snow,
still holding your vade mecum of the infinite,
The Lost Suitcase by Carolyn Forché
It would be nice to have a handbook that contained everything I ever needed to know about anything. I once had a Brownie Scout Handbook. Then a Girl Scout Handbook. Then, much later, a Big Book. But the only thing I could carry with me all the time was “a great big Brownie smile” and I often forgot to put that on. It’s amazing how much stuff I carry around now. I’m retired now but when I was working I carried:
clear nail polish
toothpaste and toothbrush
bills to pay
return address labels
Gym entry card
Diet Dr. Pepper
John left with his keys and a wallet. Why is my life so complicated?
There are no trains
The only roar comes from the ocean
and it never stops
There are no triathlons
but fishermen stand in the surf for hours
and they never stop
There are no all night diners
but there are rainbows, sunshine
and the wind never stops
It’s late in the day and
no words have lined up in a way that pleases me.
to speak of.
But I judge myself by my intentions.
and I’ve done no damage
to speak of.
Notice. Your past comes back to you now
on a warm, moist breeze
cloaked in the smell of clematis
illuminated by the noon day sun.
Your past that you shared
with strangers who have forgotten your name.
Memory is like breath:
I can’t live without it.
When memories are as transparent as dreams
and intentions as flimsy as those memories
and emotions dart here and there like spoiled children
and the right words never come,
I still begin to write without knowing
where the words will lead me
and when the words will stop
Outside my window a gum ball tree
Seed of Aprils past
Reminder of brown army blankets