The suitcase no one packs
lives in the back of the closet
in a shroud of wedding boots and radio sweaters,
its hinges glued with labels from razed hotels.
It holds textiles, tax stamps,
a great-great-grandmother’s long shadow,
the name of the uncle who worked the tobacconist’s shop.
It holds recipes for sorrel and sour cherries.
It holds tefillin, welded iron, photography.
History drops a hot potato in your hands,
tells you to walk uphill with it, both ways.
I see the suitcase sometimes, battered, impenetrable.
When the time comes to travel,
it will not leave me behind.
© 2018 by Sonya Taaffe