Carried Away

In her cart she carried bottles, plastic bags, clothes, cardboard boxes, and a yoga mat she used as a mattress. She carried a pencil, a pack of cigarettes, half a stick of jerky, seventeen cents, and a small Gideon Bible in the pocket of her surplus jacket.

She carried the stench of infected flesh, of urine, of gasoline, and of damp dirt. Her lips carried her thoughts and her limbs carried an uncontrollable tremble. Her feet wrapped in plastic bags carried bits of glass, and with them, she carried her cart in half-steps past empty buildings and through forgotten neighborhoods.

Along the way, she picked up screws, wrappers, and partially smoked cigarettes. Her fingers carried bits of leaf as she passed shrubs and under her nails she carried their dirt. There was nothing unworthy of being carried, nothing off limits.

As the sun reached for the horizon, she carried the memory of love, of addiction, of hopes born, and the numbness of their death. Her life spread before her with each half-step she took. Street signs with names like “Hill” and “Spring” became tombstones, marking the intersections she buried pieces of herself.

WIthout knowing how or when, her feet carried her to a marker of granite set in the ground. As she read the name on the stone she carried the sound of his voice and the cadence of his laugh. When she touched the date of his birth, she carried the joy of holding him, and when she traced the date of his death, she wept all the tears she carried since that day.

When she stood, the moon was rising and the air carried the sound of sprinklers and the smell of wet grass. Her eyes carried the shimmering stars and her soul carried his life. Into the night she carried her cart over cracked sidewalks and through empty intersections, past the place of remembrance.