My Father’s Suitcase

Dad’s suitcase stands out in my mind
Torn synthetic leather
Stuffed with videos and torn underwear
Cinders filled our eyes
And the superhuman vision
Of a man running down the steps

Me and my sisters
Looped our little girl bodies
Around his size 15 feet
Cried on his shoes
And screamed “Don’t go! Please!”

The stapled rugs of the trailer floor
Vibrated with the longing of little girls
Who vowed to always sit in silence
Silent, from now on,
If only he would come back inside

This affected my voice

We stayed indoors playing dolls
Quietly on our beds and passing notes between the wall

Our husbands’ feet were soaked in tears
With a voice we could find only in beggary
And when we saw any man running for a door.