VOICES OF THE KINDER

The Leather Suitcase

by Tom Berman

 

They don’t                                       
make suitcases
like that
any more.

Time was,
when this case
was made
solid, leather,
heavy stitching
with protective edges
at the corners.

Time was,
when voyage meant
train, steamship
distances unbridgeable
waiting for a thinning mail
weeks, then months,
then nothing

Children’s train,
across the Reich
stops
and starts again...

Holland
a lighted gangplank,
night ferry to gray-misted
sea-gulled Harwich
again the rails
reaching flat across
East Anglia,
to London

in my bedroom
the suitcase,
a silent witness
with two labels

“Wilson Station, Praha”
“Royal Scot, London-Glasgow”

Leather suitcase
from a far-off country,
Czechoslovakia,
containing all the love
parents could pack
for a five year old
off on a journey
for life.

 

 

 

 

 

 
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