SWWIM publishes, celebrates, & promotes women, women-identifying & Femme-presenting writers through a Miami-based reading series & the online poetry journal SWWIM Every Day.

The Cable Car Purse

She rummaged through the cartons that

were stacked inside the family room,

unwrapping, sorting, tossing stuff

on messy piles of save or sell.

She found it with a crystal vase,

two sequined evening bags, and five

Saint Joseph statues underneath

the mildewed news from eighty-four,

the year they packed up Grandma's things.


The wooden box's hinges, latch,

and handle were of brass. It smelled

of musty basement and Guerlain

perfume. Faux jewels and beads were glued

onto the painted cable car—

a missing amber teardrop fixed

with a round blue replacement gem.


When she opened it, her puzzled

reflection looked back from inside

the mirrored lid. Her Grandma's name

was printed in a shaky blue

along the edge; the purse empty,

except for two metal hair pins.


She saw a younger woman there,

the bag in hand at ample hips,

a trolley swaying over curves,

She heard the ringing bells, the voice

of someone clinging to a pole—

the fog, the fog. And nothing else.

*This poem won Third Place in the “Poetry for Purses” Competition in honor of Kate Spade and suicide prevention.

Kim King's poetry has appeared in Wild Onions, In Gilded Frame, Point Mass, The Midwest Quarterly, The Road Not Taken: A Journal of Formal Poetry, Potnia: A Devotional Anthology in Honor of Demeter, Poets for Paris, O-Dark-Thirty, and other publications. Her poems were selected and recorded for the Telepoem Booth Project in State College, PA. Kim has an M.A. in Writing from the Johns Hopkins University, blogs sporadically at KSquaredPoetry.wordpress.com, and is looking to publish her first poetry collection. She writes from her home in Hershey. 

Two Coach Purses, Stolen

My Purse Is a Mother Is My Birthright