Have luggage, will travel

Just stumbled upon this curious but engaging poem on the subject of travel by Irfan Merchant,(published in online mag for unusual poetry or photography, The Undertow Review.)


O anxious International Arrivals

clustered around the baggage carousel,

watch hopefully the thick black rubber veils

which still reveal nothing! Another soul


waiting to cross the Styx, I’ll take my place.

The grumble begins. The belt shudders, drags out,

baiting the ringside crowd, a zippered case.

Soon hands reach like needles drawn to magnets


for similar luggage, browns and blues and blacks.

A lone bright red suitcase goes sailing past.

The procession meanders on to its climax

of things checked in as fragile or outsized:


an over packed valise with strapped on wheels,

held together by parcel string and tape;

a Baluchi carpet-bag jingling its bells;

an umbrella; a cardboard poster-tube;


a folding-chair; some other assorted junk

all labelled with the airline’s barcode tag;

then last of all, a Louis Vuitton trunk

goes to the lady with the matching handbag.


The crowd thins, as a windfall, down to me

and that red suitcase, left on the conveyor.

It isn’t mine. I take it on my trolley,

stroll through Customs, with nothing to declare.


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