• Vol. 10
  • Chapter 12
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Blue Tote

gifted on my 21st birthday,
the blue tote soaked the sun’s light
as I’d stuff it to capacity --

its contents
a reflection of varied states
of contentment

a paperback copy of Anna Karenina,
sterling silver chains, slightly tarnished,
orange Tic Tacs, Juicy Fruit sticks,
crumpled receipts from 5-star restaurants,
parking violations, monthly cashier’s checks

and various stages
of consumption

uncapped Bic pens, Crayola crayons,
pennies waiting for wishing wells,
a coupon for a free Frosty, tubes of cherry
red and midnight blue lipstick, movie
tickets, midnight showing.

The tote spent restless days
on shoulders and sleepless
nights on bedposts --

up and down the coast,
mileage and carrier


Blue Tote

pigeons unknown.

Across backyard alleys
and gravel parking lots,
it consumed,

as I did --

Raisinets and Capri Sun pouches
handwritten phone numbers on tampon wrappers
piano keys and codes to unused basements
a felted red mockingbird, an origami penguin,
and plastic green pigeons

in between classes on English literature
and shifts at the local burger drive-in

until on impulse,
after a shift dripping
of greasy pick-ups,

under a sky of no stars, I turned the tote
upside down and dumped

all contents
into a trash bin that smelled of grease
and overconsumption.


Blue Tote

Initially, I felt free. Then regret conspired.

The tote now weighs no more than a few ounces,
yet I still bear weights of unknown origins.

Come night --

beneath a blue tote
a pigeon pecks at empty
gum wrappers as bubbles crack,

a decoding exercise denied.