Shipwrecked

I have always had a go-bag
packed and ready, stashed

under my bed, tucked away
in the deepest corner of a closet.

Over the years I’ve changed
what’s in it, how much money

I’d need to stay gone forever
from her or anyone else or any place

with too much snow in April
or too much hot in October

or too much traffic all the time, or just an itch,
and, now, the go-bag is ready again.

At times, my clothes no longer fit.
Once a year, I rummage through

my wardrobe and toss out everything
I no longer need, cart it off to Goodwill

on a Saturday, look inside the gray bag
to make sure the future is folded neatly

and ready, and if a pair of pants
or shirt fit better, I shake hands with the sleeves,

fold them over and tuck them good night.
Now, there’s a Ruger LCP 380

hidden between my Levis and a cable-stitched sweater.
I’m not as strong as I once was

and need a little security when navigating
the dark alleys and salty waves.

I have more cash these days and different expectations
as well as a list of possible aliases.

When you saw it stuffed under an old red coat
and asked, I said it was just a duffle bag

my father gave me once long ago,
something he never used.

William Walsh

William Walsh

William Walsh is the author of seven books, including Fly Fishing in Times Square, which won the 2019 Editor’s Prize from Červená Barva Press and will be released in August. He is the director of the low-residency creative writing program at Reinhardt University and has been published in The Georgia Review, Five Points, The James Dickey Review, The Kenyon Review, AWP Chronicle, Poets & Writers, Flannery Connor Review, Rattle, Valparaiso Poetry Review, and elsewhere.
William Walsh

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Author: William Walsh

William Walsh is the author of seven books, including Fly Fishing in Times Square, which won the 2019 Editor’s Prize from Červená Barva Press and will be released in August. He is the director of the low-residency creative writing program at Reinhardt University and has been published in The Georgia Review, Five Points, The James Dickey Review, The Kenyon Review, AWP Chronicle, Poets & Writers, Flannery Connor Review, Rattle, Valparaiso Poetry Review, and elsewhere.