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Suitcase

by Claire Scott

It’s your father you must come
really? she expects me to see him?
to travel two thousand miles to see
the man who sharp tongued me
straight to Chicago, the man who
told me & told me I was a dolt, a dope,
a staggering disappointment

my therapist chatters on & on
about closure, regret
she talks about forgiveness, not to condone
but to unload the anger I lug around
in a worn leather suitcase with two shiny locks
I barely listen

I arrive in time/a ventilator breathes his breath/
in long hissing sighs
monitors beep & bleep
ghostly lines zig & zag across the screens
plastic tubes snake from his starched sheets
one loops to a yellow pouch

what is left of my father lies on the bed
eyes shut, mouth hidden by a plastic mask
he can no longer talk/no longer hurt
I hear my mother’s voice/my therapist’s voice
pick up his swollen hand & kiss it
whisper you love him
& I do & I do &

then I reach behind his bed & grab a plug
the hissing stops
I walk out as September’s sun
slant-shadows the parking lot
I set the suitcase on the back seat
brass locks still glistening

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Claire Scott is an award winning poet who has been nominated twice for the Pushcart Prize. Her work has been accepted by the Atlanta Review, Bellevue Literary Review, Healing Muse and Vine Leaves Literary Journal among others. Her first book of poetry, Waiting to be Called, was published in 2015. She is the co-author of Unfolding in Light: A Sisters’ Journey in Photography and Poetry.