Souvenir

I would like
to take something with me

but even one chair
is too awkward
too heavy

peeling paint
falls off in a suitcase
hinge sounds betray a theft
cheeses won’t keep

the clothespin
without its surroundings
would be mediocre

the big thunder rolled elsewhere

the umbrella is for sale
but in a desert what you want is a soaking

the do not disturb sign is tattered

I have many times taken
some cafe’s small packets of sugar
so that in Turkey
I might sweeten my coffee with China,
and in Italy remember a Lithuanian pastry

but where is the coffee

hands left and right useless
knees clattery
heart finally calm
as some hero at the end of a movie
squinting silently into the sun

you can’t hold an umbrella there anyhow
and what would he hang from the clothespin

More Poems by Jane Hirshfield