THE SUITCASE

The shape by the side of the road
slowed me down, and the boot midst rocks and weeds
made me turn to look

at the green plaid suitcase,
open and empty, or, as the poet would say:
“battered and alone”

Like the woman
no one sees
on Exhibition Road

sprawled against the wall
beneath N A T I O N A L C O N F E R E N C E
painted there

Face turned from us,
missing plastic sandal nowhere
to be seen

Eyes in the looming half-built apartments
gauged my interest then and there
against the suitcase and boot

I want to carry off
to set onstage at the Conference Hall
like an open coffin

with the boot and a Mona Lisa print
displayed within. First spurned by lover,
then by family, and by all who pass

that woman out there
for you to see
her shame
and defiance

has no home

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