Open and closed

Open and closed

Close your bag, he says.

Anyone could just reach in while you are sleeping

On the train and take things

While your eyes are closed:

Your phone, your books, your wallet.

When you sit on the train you fall open

Like an abandoned bag.

Your knees are spread and your lap is wide open

Like your mouth when you sleep,

And like your mouth it sings an invisible song.

Your bag breathes in and out with every

Unconscious tiny movement of your stomach.

The bag on your lap lies open to strangers.

You leave yourself open to theft.

You’ve been overseas. Don’t you know better?

I can’t help it, my darling.

My whole world is an open bag.

My morning commute runs along one half

Of the great zip delineating its mouth.

Nature and geology has turned

My house into an opening.

Deep inside it, anyone can reach

With inquisitive hands

And find knowledge or wealth or connections.

I have travelled, yes. If I ever feel homesick

All I have to do is put my bag down,

Expand the opening till it makes an O

And step into that singing shape.

I will let the topography of my bag enfold me,

Mouth open, eyes closed.


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