Once, there was a house full of things:
sofas, pillows, a china cabinet full
of pretty teacups. They bring me
my tea in thick mugs that don't break
when I drop them.
On the bedside table, I pass the hours
arranging neatly, over and over,
the comb, the brush, the toothbrush,
all the things I own now.
I wish there was a soft woolly robe
in my suitcase. It gets cold here at night;
it is hard to sleep when I am cold.
I look at my long wrinkled toes
at the end of my legs, at the end of my bed.
They make me laugh
and remember hazy days in summer,
when I walked barefoot in the garden,
smelling the morning, and smiling.
I hope there is something sweet
after supper, something sweet
to make it worth waiting all day
for people who never come.
for Day 25 at Real Toads: the Suitcase Project
The prompt is to write a poem in first person about someone in a mental hospital, listing what might have been in her suitcase. I once worked in a seniors home, and have made hospice visits, and am always struck by how few possessions a person is allowed or has room for at the end of their lives. There would be photos of their families, and houses full to bursting with Things, and I would ponder how the women had once had houses full of things, while on their bedside tables lay all their few possessions, a comb, a toothbrush: no warm clothing or blankets, no belongings, no comforts. Just bodies, being housed.