If I don’t lose it
this is the last wallet I’ll ever have.
I’ve got it all lined out now, penciled in.
As the leather wears, so will I,
the rest of the way.
Broken in, life down pat,
just as it all wears away.
I remember the wallet I lost at fifteen.
It was like my dad’s—
shiny black calf’s leather for a birthday—
but Dad’s was old, buffed by wear
stretched and rounded by mysterious bulk.
Mine so light, was it in my pants or not?
It fell from the back pocket of my white
navy-style bellbottoms while I watched
a matinee at the Fox Fullerton.
I think the movie was The Happening
with the Supremes’ hit song of the same name.
I don’t remember what I had to keep
in a wallet when I was young and hapless.
I must have had some money now and then
from paper routes and mowing lawns.
I recall a picture of a girl
tucked away in there: the lingering whiff
of leather scent is sexual and warm.
I can see a face, hear a name and feel
the weekend afternoon, the tree we climbed,
the fort we dug in black suburban soil
but cannot reach the photo held so deep
in the slots and sections of the billfold.
So she and I, the matinee Supremes
their song the tree the fort the afternoon
my father, all will fall to crevasses,
the creases and wrinkles of red-grey time,
the convolutions of my dying brain.
Not only will my memory of her
be gone but I myself will not exist.
Someone else will get the wallet. It was