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Time Capsule

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.


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