Hypomnema 3

You can tell the third worlders
by the number of trays of discount
chicken they load in their cart
and their propensity to hoard
for that proverbial rainy day.
Why not the 25 pound sack
of rice at discount, rather than
the 8 pound bag? Is this why,
growing up, we had a dozen
blue boxes filled with toothpicks
dreaming in the cupboard of the school
projects they would become? A navy
blue uniform skirt with a hidden
button tab in the waistband and a hem
sewed two inches below the knee—
not just for modesty but to make sure
it would last another year. Even now,
those habits stick: I have a giant
box of beautiful gift wrap paper,
a mandolin with 3 missing strings
and a loose fretboard. I can’t
bear to throw it away: even
the plucked remainders can still
clearly sound their given note.

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