After ‘What Every Woman Should Carry’ by Maura Dooley
My first love gave me a lighter that was broken.
I don’t smoke so
I packed: a spare teabag, a pair of socks (they’re his – size 8),
the morning after pill (in date – just), a book to pretend to read
in case there is someone cute on
a gas mask (pink).
What if I get thirsty?
I added a bottle of water (red wine)
and one emergency cigarette –
Here, you can have the university bookmark I got for free!
I’m only pretending to read now anyhow.
Consider also taking your mothers advice,
Condensed. Only the key points will fit because she talks a lot.
If I have room, which I won’t, I’ll squeeze
in some gum, a RedBull, my ‘sexy’ pants (just in case someone cute gets on the train),
my ugly pants (spares are good)
and Vaseline because no one wants to kiss chapped lips.
I also packed My Pain,
pain because of what you said to me / what you didn’t say,
relief that I didn’t let slip those three true words, I love…
a small red wine, undisguised this time,
my mother’s engagement ring – lost and then found and then
lost once more, a letter I’ll never send, but adorned with a stamp,
your grin forgives you of all your negligence.
Stuffed in last is that full bin bag, my brain,
melting, a chocolate bar and, of course –
Don’t forget, a whole Christmas panettone.