• Vol. 10
  • Chapter 09

Cranberry Suitcase

The cranberry suitcase was a gift intended as a parting gesture. One of patently admirable intentions and safety measures – both curious and questionable. Each compartment was stocked – petroleum jelly and blueberry scones, talcum powders and breath freshener. Each zipper locked. Somewhere, somewhere inside the faux-leather lot, my garments, mostly gingham and knits, were pressed and folded. Packed and planted. My belongings were a peculiar assortment of threads both sewn and yet-to-be owned. Up until the moment the train departed, the suitcase and I were one. Then, our paths parted. I was sent to the train’s spine, a seat in its lower back. The suitcase would join a mess of others’ property. A sea of navy, mud, and ash with my case, a cranberry on top. Compartmentalized and stocked. I clearly remember the moment the suitcase and I parted –

ways. the train on a one-way
track. All seats occupied,
of men in suits and mustaches
(not mouths) freshly washed.

I found my seat, claimed my space,
flicked specks of mud off my pink
raincoat (not a trace), then
crossed my chest (first) and
my nylon-covered legs (second).

Just. Like. That.

I was nearly off and newly
planted. All plans executed.


Cranberry Suitcase

Most pleasing. A
single square. A solitary


until I realized the cranberry
suitcase could not remain

on top.

The conductor fussed,
fumed, then reassumed
his routine along with
a blank countenance.

“It comes with me,” he said to no one,

expecting no response in return –

all seats occupied,

I counted stops and held my breath,

half expecting my luck to stand the test.

It did not.

The cranberry suitcase
did not arrive as planned,


Cranberry Suitcase

and I was, suddenly,

without a plan.

Truth be told,
my pink coat, red umbrella,
and reality, were soaked
and cloaked

in a false reality