I Carry with Me by Pat West

Memories of old army blankets
slung over the clothesline,
a tent built when I was seven.
The front steps
of every house I ever lived in
thinking this is it,
this will be my home
from here on out.
My phone
and all the numbers
of people I call
and those who don’t call back.
Every fresh new start,
every last turn of the lock
and final drive away.
The tabby’s gentle footfall
on the bed. A shiny crescent scar
on my knee. Grocery lists
and birthday cards to send.
Flashbacks of the first funeral
I attended decades ago
and all the ones since.
The ceaseless chug of days
that pull me forward. The sour hope
that I’m among the ones
who get to grow old. I carry with me
an image of my father’s ropey hands,
the redness of my mother’s lips,
my brother laughing
crazy hard that time he ordered frog’s legs.

About the Author: Pat West

Pat Phillips West lives in Olympia, WA. A Pushcart and Best of the Net nominee, her work has appeared in Haunted Waters Press, Persimmon Tree, VoiceCatcher, San Pedro River Review, Slipstream, Gold Man Review and elsewhere.

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