The Things We Carry, The Things That Carry Us
The barista and her customer flirt across the counter, talking about taking off and traveling the world. Her hand wings across her hair. He leans in, practically leaving the ground. In the corner booth, my wanderluster heart pounds its caffeine call.
I dump my life on the table, take stock of all that weighs me here. It isn’t what you think. These keys are temporary, the beat of this work can drum anywhere.
I’ve got two folded twenties, a book of stamps, a deck of tarots. The two of cups
always rises to the top. I’ve made a light life. A pound of feathers and my heart a lead balloon. Even softcover books gain gravity if you read them long enough. If there’s a bookmark in my story arc, it’s made of hand-pressed parchment and
googly eyes. One of these things is not like the other. We are all dichotomies of scale. When I pack every morning, I understand that I might not be coming back.
I carry underwear, socks, vital body parts, the necklace from the ocean, my
unwedding ring, the time I missed my plane, an invitation to a baby shower that didn’t happen. A two-holed stoned, a lock of hair, lust, a missing mother, a disorder of magnitude. I have checks, balances, blankets, my passport, an empty
coffee cup. I rise to fill it. The barista steps away from her flirtation, the click of a door closing. I hear the lock turn, the key pocketed. I wonder if she’s remembered to pack what matters. I remember I’ve left the most important thing at home.
Ramblepoem. Based on the actual incident at the coffee shop, written while I’m still sitting here, watching them flirt.