IF HIS SUITCASE COULD TALK, IT WOULD SAY
There is a heaviness within me.
My hinges creak and the leather straps
that bind me close are frayed.
I am packed too full of ghosts, stale anger,
your worst nightmares and old stories –
a baseball-shattered window,
your grim and silent mother,
the dust bin emptied near – not in – the trash,
stained ties and scratched records,
fistfights in the tool shed.
I have been passed down to you
and so much of what I hold
does not serve you.
After all the heave and lugging,
set me down. Open me up.
You are, after all, the key.
Lay me flat, top and bottom side by side,
take out each of these objects, face them
one by one, then throw them away.
Leave me empty –
a chest, no, the lungs of a chest
busy breathing blue.
Or fill me lightly with
a grandfather’s words, You’ll be good at this
some day, your father’s leather glove,
and all you know
of wood and how
to love a woman.
Then pass me down.