Paper grocery bag of all I borrowed for three years ─ quarter of a dining set, seven coffee cups, cream pitcher, all nested in an Italian fruit bowl with sloppy painted flowers. She'd gone to the beach, but left a cheap empty Styrofoam cooler, upside down near her apartment door. I'd taken much of Saturday to hunt down all the borrowed articles, afraid that I was taking her generosity too much for granted. But she was out, so I balanced the bag on the cooler and started upstairs. Creak of Styrofoam, grinding shift of ceramic against ceramic and, with multiple gamelan tintinabula, the whole thing toppled. I pivoted back , just as she walked in with a big shoulder bag and sunglasses. Just time to gather the bag in my arms, as if bringing an injured cat back.
"Did something break?"
I nodded "Yes."
"Everything you ever loaned me....."
And that was my joke about us. We laughed and that was it. She always had that margin for laughter.
hung in the mulberry
mobile of broken crockery
shards of laughter