Ode to my last suitcase

You sit in the cupboard wondering whether retirement has truly come.
Your black has faded to grey, scratched and battered,
Tattooed with airport security and hotel reception stickers.
You accompanied me on my many adventures
To India, China and many other lands.
I watched you disappear on the check-in belt
Wondering whether I would see you again.
I thought of you being thrown around and piled up into the plane
With other black, grey or more colourful travelers.
How brave you were to submit yourself to such indignities.
I saw you bouncing on the carousel at arrival, your bright ribbon
Tied on the handle waving to me, I’m here
As I pushed bodies aside to reach eagerly for you.
You saw me breathe a deep sigh of relief at being reunited
We walked together for a while through crowds of passengers
You patiently submitted to being pushed into a dusty boot
Or crammed into a cab front seat.
Sometimes you enjoyed the luxury of a clean hotel limousine
As I also enjoyed its air conditioning.
Proper care and respect often restored to you as we arrived
At a grand hotel I was not paying for.
Men in exotic uniforms would take care of you.
You and I momentarily separated again,
They brought you to my room.
Alone at last!
I could undo your locks and open your lid
Explore the precious things you had guarded so well:
My washbag, my nightclothes and spare underwear.
Sleep well, my faithful old friend,
Who knows whether we shall ever fly again.

Marie Sheard


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