This battered briefcase holds my name
and my heart, locked away
with papers of long-concluded business,
their illegible signatures giving
witness to yesterday’s sworn truths.
I misplaced the key some time ago
but is easy to carry and so
shabby none would think to steal it.
I remember how the hinges
creaked the last time it was opened,
and that the leather is only plastic.
I remember filling it
with the sugar sand of our beach
and the cloud you said looked like
a hippopotamus but then
it turned into a cat before
becoming nothing, nothing at all.
Who knows what it might be now;
that transaction lies between
the notarized pages and empty folders.
The case can not be opened without
breaking the catches. Where then would I
keep my name, my heart? Must I file them
away with other finished business
in cardboard boxes labeled year
by year until they now longer matter?
I’ll carry this briefcase to yet another
meeting as if I had a key.
Stephen Brooke ©2012
Another rough first-draft piece scribbled on note paper late in the evening.