Pockets: A Haibun

You keep your hands in them to get warm. You slip your hands
into them when you don't know what else to do— a pose 
that supposedly conveys an air of nonchalance. A casual vibe. 
Like, I'm chill. Or Don't mind me, I'm just leaning against the wall 
here, trying to blend into the atmosphere. You've learned to stay 
just like this, especially when you're unsure of how to mix and 
mingle, make small talk; after a while, even the waiters walking 
around the room with little trays of hors d'oeuvres forget 
about you. In 1991, two German tourists came upon a mummified 
corpse frozen halfway to its chest in a pocket of ice, somewhere 
on the border between Austria and Italy. An archaeologist 
determined that this guy, christened Ötzi the Iceman, lived 
around the year 3,300 BCE.  When he was found, he was still 
wearing a cloak of woven grass, shoes and leggings of animal 
skin. His belt had a pouch dangling from it— an outside pocket 
containing a flake of flint, an awl made of bone, some kind 
of scraper and drill, dried fungus. The contents of his stomach 
included partly digested food from at least two meals before 
he was killed: ibex meat, wheat, deer and chamois meat, herbs, 
roots, fruit. Inside the gastric pocket, he'd also harbored 
whipworms. And you could go on and on, exploring the body 
as if it were a bottomless hamper, an envelope of assorted 
curiosities. You feel around coat pockets and find lint balls, 
crumpled receipts, an old piece of gum; quarters, one half 
of a pair of lost earrings. In the early 1900s, there was
something called a beer pocket inside a men's jacket
or vest, expressly for carrying a bottle of alcohol. Women 
used to be able to carry a square of cloth, yarn or thread,
keys and scissors in ample pouch pockets. But now, if women's 
clothes have pockets, they're so much smaller than men's. 

You'd think someone decided 
they'd better not be hiding any secrets, 
better not be given extra space of any kind.  

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