Suitcase

I will, my father swears,
put your suitcase right here.
He pats the seat of his walker.
This night before I leave
he refuses to sleep for making plans:
I will take it to the car for you.
He’s erased the impossible brick steps
down to the driveway:
I will drive you to the airport
with or without a license.
Come morning he does none of these things.
He does only one thing:
I’ll miss you, Shug. God knows,
I will. And he kisses my cheek.
And the bones of his shoulders meet my hands
through the thin cotton of his shirt.
Will he remember who I am
next time? Driving to catch my plane,
I feel myself, everything I packed, spilling,
spooling out. There’s no next time.
I’m looking for the parts
of me he gathered and took with him.

Ashley Mace Havird

Ashley Mace Havird

Ashley Mace Havird’s fourth collection of poems, Wild Juice, will be published in the Southern Messenger Poets Series (LSU Press) in Spring 2021. The Garden of the Fugitives (Texas Review Press, 2014) won the X. J. Kennedy Prize. Her poems have appeared in many journals, most recently Image, Sewanee Review, and American Journal of Poetry. Her novel, Lightningstruck (Mercer University Press, 2016), won the Ferrol Sams Award for Fiction. www.ashleymacehavird.com.
Ashley Mace Havird

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Author: Ashley Mace Havird

Ashley Mace Havird’s fourth collection of poems, Wild Juice, will be published in the Southern Messenger Poets Series (LSU Press) in Spring 2021. The Garden of the Fugitives (Texas Review Press, 2014) won the X. J. Kennedy Prize. Her poems have appeared in many journals, most recently Image, Sewanee Review, and American Journal of Poetry. Her novel, Lightningstruck (Mercer University Press, 2016), won the Ferrol Sams Award for Fiction. www.ashleymacehavird.com.