by Iris Jamahl Dunkle
The purse was the object, not the violence.
An open maw that gaped, while we, away
were bridging (sea wind, slices of rain). Or,
the purse was an open mouth gone mute, while
I walked alone (low blue sky, one hundred
one cent stamps). You came out of nowhere, or
you wove in and out of five locked cars, an
invisible thread. Each moment became
a film strip, stuttering: how did we get
here? Both occasions, the purse was returned.
Found emptied of valuables on the berm,
or tossed into the tangled wet grass.
You remained ghost shingled with should or could
a genie stitched into each leather flap.
*This poem won first Second Place in the “Poetry for Purses” Competition in honor of Kate Spade and suicide prevention.