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Luggage


I've given away the black Samsonite suitcase
that for thirty-five years enfolded my suits
like a wallet, though months before, I'd already
set it forever aside. For the very last time
I'd tucked the card with the path to the exit
back in the pocket of the seat, just ahead,
a seat that revealed the bald head of a man
whom I seemed to be following always,
city to city, hotel to hotel. I'd slipped the card
down out of sight behind the slick magazine
featuring Great Destinations, back with the fat
catalog of odd items that only those people
on oxygen thousands of feet in the air would
dream of possessing, back with the sick-bag
starched like a shirt, and, for the very last time
I'd lurched my way to the noisy tin toilet
supporting myself on the backs of the seats.
I've since tweezered my name and address
from the luggage tag's miniscule window
and given my suitcase away, but I've kept one
out-of-date suit for the funerals of colleagues,
some of them still on the road to the last.
That suit now hangs like a bat in my closet,
its two-button jacket having folded its wings
over my cuffed, pleated pants on their hanger,
today with a thin line of dust on the fold.


Ted Kooser

Bellevue Literary Review

Fall 2017


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