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This Bag is Not a Toy

This pellucid,

plastic sleeve,

slippery as an

icicle

to the touch,

which held my trio

of padded envelopes

(used to mail those

once-in-a-blue-moon

orders for my book),

is inked with

an outré caveat:


THIS BAG

IS NOT A TOY,


and I’m forced to

wonder what birthed

this bizarro warning,


if it was a toddler

who had ditched

her coloured blocks,

to slide

her chubby fingers

into its mouth,

unable to shake it off

(like a fox with its

foot in a trap),

and bawled her

bellowing tantrum

through the daycare,


or possibly

a boy of six,

slipping it over

his head,

mimicking the

helmet of an

astronaut, taking

that one giant leap


before suffocation,

before seeing

his entire world

as the forlorn,

trifling marble

that it is,


then maybe that

kid in the barrio,

who’s never had

a plaything in her

life,


whose father

brought it back

for a refund, in

order to buy some

flour, the stationer

refusing

before he’s shot in

desperation and

an orphan is born

of it all,


hearing from her

dad via letters

from the jail,

arriving

stamped & sealed

for 40 years,


who saved up

for a telescope

to scan the lunar

scars, had it shipped

to her lonely hovel

in São Paulo,


coming with Silica packs,

labelled CAUTION:

DO NOT EAT,


which perhaps

has saved some lives,

a culinary

temptation

otherwise,

sheathed in bubble

wrap,


that you’d pop it

between your teeth

were it not for

the admonition,


with a dash

of cardamom,

a swig of Brazilian

rum to wash it down.





Andreas Gripp

November 8, 2023


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