Published in First Awakening: An Anthology of Prose and Poetry by Clara Challoner Walker and Janet Dean.
My mother’s handbag
The black torn leather
smells like nicotine and
she clutched it next to her body
while it hung off one shoulder.
I’d watch it swing stiffly by her side
heavy, with addresses and letters,
A wallet full of loyalty she never used
And a pack of player’s lights
to the unlocked house, the car –
keys to the locks I could never find.