Purse poem

By Mo Conlan

Why do we find all the wrong ones...


Purse Goddess

I hang small purses –

on my bedroom walls.

They don’t contain anything--

just look pretty, woven

and beaded artworks

in red, pink and gold hues

of intricate patterns.


The purses I buy

for actual use look right,

but then prove either

not large enough to contain

pens, wallet, checkbook,

calendar, notebook,

lipstick, bills to be mailed,

keys and other oddments

or so big they swallow

everything inside

like a black hole in space.


I can’t find what I need.

I buy the wrong purse

again and again.


My mother carried

ladies’ hankies in her purse.

When one of us had a dirty face

in public, she would discreetly

spit on it and clean us -- like a mamma cat

cleaning her seven kits.


Purses are so quintessentially

female – little outside wombs

carrying our treasures –

that it seems a failure

to be unable

to find the right one.


Oh, I did, once, actually

have the perfect purse –

handmade of soft black leather

with a large outer pocket

in which I could tuck

a reporter’s notebook.

exact right size for all else;

just the right shape and zippering

so that all inside was revealed

when I opened it searching for a pen.

I wore that until it fell apart.

I wish it could be cloned.


I am still searching

for another purse that just suits.

Perhaps that is why

I honor the purse goddess

by hanging these

pretty ones like jewels

on my wall.


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