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Four Poems by Deena Kara Shaffer Illustration by Gemma Correll.

Four Poems by Deena Kara Shaffer

The Grey Tote: Dad

With a pride in leanness,
a daily 5k jog before an hour swim—
this first life as dad’s workout duffel.
These were the seventies, at an ad agency no less—
his workouts, messy, given the liquid lunches.
Not sure the bargaining history of his schedule.

Nylon, one zipper. Nothing reflective.

The Grey Tote: Mum

Mum's birthing bag,
ready with contractions' onset.
Not kept out in anticipation;
tucked away, neat.
She'll tell it like I sure took my slow, agonizing time.
Set to go home the next day.

Cylindrical utility with simple handles.

The Grey Tote: Grandfather

The third incarnation laid there like he did—
floor-stuck, scarcely making it to hospital.
Packed and easy to find,
holding none of the new pants from gifts past.
Just his most tattered, all with a urine quaff;
a belt with ever slimmer notches.

Two shades of charcoal ...

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