On picking the right accessories for dropping my daughter off at college

M.E. Hope
Horizontal photo blurred photo of a mother and child walking.
Photo by Peignault Laurent

This is the purse I bought
to take to New York
something small
with a long strap
something I could pull
over my shoulder
and wear like a sash. 
As though I was going 
to walk down Broadway, 
arms open wide,
accepting flowers. 
Something compact for 
the essentials: lip balm, pen
and paper, an ID.  

Though now that I think
about it, half
my identification 
stayed behind, the final
embrace, after she turned 
to go, stayed empty
and cold for a long time.  

Even the next day
by myself at the museum,
the weight of her
absence pulled 
at the zipper, 
the bag caught 
on corners and chairs.
Every time I untangled,
some representation 
of mother and child was 
in front of me.  

Had I brought my big bag
I could have gathered them all.

M.E. Hope currently lives and writes in Belgium. A recipient of a Fishtrap Fellowship, Playa Residency, and Individual Artist Fellowship from the Oregon Arts Commission, she spends her days watching the amazing Belgian Blue cattle and searching for the perfect cheese.