By Vincent Casaregola
PROMPT — Who am I today?
I carry it all in my shirt pocket,
life, death, history, all
recorded and held in place—
the cardholder embraces a set
of places and people who have
moved through and passed by—
the restaurant that closed
with the owner's early death,
the coffee house performing artist
who years ago skipped town,
the publisher who smiled and forgot,
even the mathematics tutor whose face
has disappeared from my brain.
All hide in the holder, beneath
my daughters' photographs,
none quite recent, that catalog
their transit from innocence
to styled awareness—in one
they sit together, locking arms,
but in the others they separate,
each going her own way,
cartwheeling through years
till statuesque in heels.
What we think we can possess
possesses us instead, holds us
as we hold on—the pocket itself
mere microcosm of the body whole—
live long enough and discover then
you become your own prison,
cage and occupant the same,
in this capsule embodied
is all my history, cell by cell,
vein by patient vein.
Vincent Casaregola teaches literature, film, and writing at Saint Louis University. He has published work in a number of journals. He has recently completed a book-length manuscript of poetry dealing with issues of medicine, illness, and loss (Vital Signs) for which he is seeking a publisher. Vincent writes from Crestwood, MO.