The Purse I Carry

By Carol Smallwood

is drying after being washed

and this is what it carries:


*Right Side Pocket

Leather wallet, coin pocket taped

from my husband before he left

3 keys attached with wide red ribbon

from a Christmas wreath

A quilting piece from a favorite aunt

who read to me

One of John Galsworthy’s books


*Middle Pocket

5 empty Kroger shopping bags

to use at Sav a Lot

Yellow napkins from Wendy’s

to use anywhere

White napkins from McDonald’s


*Middle Zipper Pocket

Small plastic container with lid

for rescuing small things

Several covered toothpicks

to use lunching out

A rubber band from somewhere

in case I need it

A safety pin (closed)



*Left Pocket

Plastic baby carrot bag

to carry daily pills

Orange case for sunglasses

for driving

Retractable black pen

to capture words

Coupons from Wendy’s

for $1 off combo meals

Small Tupperware party case

for Merle Norman face cream

Flash drive the shape of lipstick

in case my house burns

Notes from Trauma and Recovery

by Judith Herman, M.D.

Used copy paper cut in half


Carol Smallwood co-edited (Molly Peacock, foreword) Women on Poetry: Tips on Writing, Teaching and Publishing by Successful Women Poets (McFarland, 2012); Compartments: Poems on Nature, Femininity and Other Realms (Anaphora Literary Press, 2011) was nominated for the Pushcart. Women Writing on Family: Tips on Writing, Teaching and Publishing, (Key Publishing House, 2012) is her most recent book. Her sixth anthology for the American Library Association, Bringing Arts into the Library, is forthcoming. Some magazine credits include: The Writer’s Chronicle, English Journal.

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