Empty out


When emptying handbags should one:

Let the crumpled receipts fall to the ground? Coins from England, old hotel keys? Let the dirty secrets drop like an autumn spray onto the carpet?

Yes! A ticket stub from the LA Phil or a just incase smudgy valium.

Life leaves unfinished fragments and ends never tied, carcasses picked over,  and those thread bare wishes not claimed,  laying now within the linings of these bags.

Relics scatter to the floor in suspended animation. Fast then slow. Hair pins and boiled candies, sand, tampons, used -up lighters.

But I always thought I would find my black ink pen. The pen that would make me write. The pen that I lost.

Ball-bearings, band-aids, forgotten dollar bills and a drivers license from 18 years ago. A corner of a love note. Folded up doodles from a kid with the single mother.


I stare at these handbags, my friends, in

their faded glory on the floor, empty.

Phony snake-print,

 hold all totes,

Prada suede,

 worn corners on the black clutch,

fake Hermes,

 these shoulder straps have seen better days.

All had at one time been held smug fit under a perfumed armpit of a body dressed for town, a body dressed to impress a body who belonged to no one in particular depending on the mood or how much wine there was to drink.

I throw them in the cardboard box one by one. The nagging itch of the carpet prickling bare legs makes me want to hurry

 An old penny with a cross cut out of the middle given by a man I loved once, gets thrown in the box too. Too hard to let go of that one son of a bitch, all wrapped up in a single penny.

Real life glitter does not shine, it is just the falling contents of emptied out purses. I pack up again for another crazy move.

I know what they will say

“Honey, you’re moving to Virginia? For that man ?”


Worries sound like far off  gulls circling or pelicans breakneck speeding into a crop of fish. Bulls eye.

Filling up while I empty out. 

© 2017 Amelia Fleetwood.  Ojai, California 

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