portion of the artwork for Sharon Kennedy-Nolle's poem

Sharon Kennedy-Nolle

The college called,
having been given the news
you’re not coming back.
Next, your belongings, retrieved,
the stuff chucked in bins,
after a year and a half
of being stored in a semi,
left detached in some frozen Iowa field;
“Total Value Shipping” makes quite a living
off dorm leftovers, mottoed
after Julian of Norwich:
All will be well
insured, crated, delivered home.

But how to calculate the write-off?

What good are the goods
when you can’t come back?

I can’t help but confess
your crack-up to Customer Support.
A packer answers, “Don’t want that to happen to mine.
Keep ’em close, I say.”

But it began near there
when you used to feed the town cats,
making midnight runs with flip-top food,
bought from the college Kum & Go.
How you’d tell me about the one with a Geiger counter purr
that hid like shame
in the garbage bin.

After it all fell apart,
and you got so tight in your dorm room
they had to pry
your mind loose
to fit in
the loony bin,
I turned next to the cats,
attempting a trap-and-release by phone.
That failed, too.

How long were they left mewing,
expecting you?

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FRiGG: A Magazine of Fiction and Poetry | Issue 52 | Fall/Winter 2018