portion of the artwork for Cristin O'Keefe Aptowicz's poetry

Green Umbrella
Cristin O'Keefe Aptowicz

Sometimes I hold my long green umbrella
across my legs on the subway, like a lapbar
for a very boring rollercoaster.

When I exit, I use the umbrella like a cane,
climbing the stairs like a grand doyenne.
On the street, it becomes a baton, pointing stick,

an unstable pole to vault me over puddles.
Sometimes the umbrella snags in a hidden grate,
twangs out of my hand like a sudden, insistent tree.

In the elevator, the umbrella drips
like a fresh cut orchid, like a lonesome woman.
At the office, I refuse to put it with the rest

in the trashcan by the door. Too awkward
and tall, I knew all day it would be knocked
to the ground, snagged on coats, cursed.

So I keep the umbrella by my desk, flat against
the side of my cubicle. As the day goes on, it dries
out next to me, losing its shine. It almost blends in.

I try to remember where I got it, finally recalling
the lost and found box at the bar. How it was still
early, but already it rattled with abandonment.

Take any one you want, the bartender said. People
always leave them behind, never come back.

All identical: compact, disposable, easy to break.

Or, he said, you can take that one, pointing.
There it was, leaned against the back of the bar,
so close to the trashcan, I actually gasped.

I remember I walked right up to it.
I remember I claimed it as mine.

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FRiGG: A Magazine of Fiction and Poetry | Issue 31 | Winter 2011