At 50

I’m going to need more pockets.
I intend to wear clothes
with more pockets —
cargo pants, vests like those
worn by photographers
and hunters, and
a small shoulder bag.
I’m tempted to even learn
how to sew secret pockets
to store trinkets, pen caps,
my students’ laughs,
shards of turtle shell,
and poems awed by
our beautiful
and pitiful
and heroic efforts
at being human.

I’m going to need more pockets.
Look at all the things to collect
from all of you, my loves,
my darlings living your lives
right before me when I’m
an ant farming honeydew
from aphids sucking sap!

I’m going to need more pockets
to carry the awful things I do
until I tear out those pages too.

I’m going to need more pockets
to store all of these extra
punctuation marks
I withhold
to better use in the future.

I need a place to lose my phone.
I need a slot to pour in strange coins
like wishes upon stars
at the bottoms of fountains.
Where else to put these
uncapped black Bics with which
to better dent pages
and carve regret
than pockets here,
beside this nest
of napkin scraps
marked with verse
and this crumple
crabbed from conversation
caught at the airport
in 1998,
our firstborn on his way,
when a new father spoke
a life truth:

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“everything smells like pee.”

When it happens
I want to write it down:
The sun shone from the center
of the turtle’s bottomless eye
before she dipped back underwater.

To carry that paper
marked with miracle
and witness in a pocket
sewn into my clothes
from which I can retrieve it
and remind myself
of that light.

Moving forward,
I’m going to need
more pockets.

Photo by Hermes Rivera on Unsplash