Bereavement Centre Bag

by Paganini Jones

No handbag, purse or lipstick
No small suitcase or bag
Just one blue plastic carrier
(Not two or three, just one)
No notebook, diary or pen
No novel read with pages marked
Just messages of “get-well soon”:
Wishes that didn’t work.

One dressing gown in red
(A note: ‘return to Maude
At number 32, I got it new
From M&S last week)
One dressing gown in blue
With fabric wearing thin
A grubby patch around the neck
(Will anyone want that?)

A pair of leather shoes
With downtrod heels
(Size 6) a pair of threadbare mules,
A plastic bag marked
‘Laundry, unwashed’
A wash-kit bag (no kit)
And still no trace of hearing aid.
Is that at home? Or lost?

A envelope of cheapest brown,
Marked Margaret Jones (deceased)
A bunch of keys, a watch, a ring
Of metal someone thought
Might be of gold, or not.
One bag contains the valuables
She took with her that day
And now I take them home
Again, and wonder where she is.

(2nd June 04)


Author's Note: Rough, unfinished, but how it has to be for now... I am too close to it to edit properly

Posted on 06/13/2004
Copyright © 2020 Paganini Jones

Member Comments on this Poem
Posted by Maureen Glaude on 06/13/04 at 12:11 AM

very moving synopsis of the gathering of personal effects after the demise. Another friend of mine last year wrote one on the same theme, after having to go through the things left by her friend. Yours has a sense of the tragic, the "smallness" we seem to come down to, in the few things and their import, and the sadness of the cards that didn't work out. Haunting.

Posted by Chris Sorrenti on 06/14/04 at 03:50 PM

Ditto on Maureen's comment. This must be a truly heartbreaking thing to do as I imagine putting myself in your place and think of any number of loved ones who'd fit the program. Well Done P!

Posted by E. A. Pugh on 08/07/11 at 08:19 PM

A moving piece, such capturing of possessions returned after departure. Your piece left me shuddering over the reduction of life and where it went.

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