Bag on the Wall

An empty backpack hangs
on a bedroom wall next to paintings and fairy lights,
slouching from the single thumb tack
holding it in place.

Its colours are warm like hot breath
and like a dry desert breeze,
mimicking the colours of the flag of Spain.

The red of raw salmon;
the pack’s front is as red as fresh sashimi
in a popular Japanese sushi joint
on the Northern Pacific.

The sides are deep, natural yellow,
the colour of three chance sunflowers
that towered in a father’s backyard, leaning
against the wooden fence when they would become too tall.

Detailing and the back in black;
dusty and solid,
a streak of coal on a stretch of canvas.

And citrus orange straps,
tangy and sweet
like a cousin’s folk band made of banjo twangs,
train horns, and hoarse vocals.

The backpack is a guardian, protecting memories
in its sagging belly,
in its black scuffs,
in its green grass stains,
in the black thread sealing the seam rip,
in the attached pin of the German flag to the side pocket,
in the broken zippers,
in the smudged, fading name
scribbled on the small front pocket.

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