Souvenirs and Evidence
The Search and Rescue crew handed me the bag
like a forgotten sandwich. I held it for days;
a Zip-Loc of belongings: his taxi wallet, damp
from melted snow with twelve, crisp hundred dollar bills,
weekend cash to pay for my 45th birthday.
His red bandanna covered in rocks and ice,
smelling of sweat and torn mountain skin.
Our son’s fifth grade picture in his wallet:
Hazel eyes, pirate t-shirt, gypsy hair;
face staring back at me with that “I am safe” look.
And then the goggles, still foggy,
still defrosting from a long night and buried.
I held the bag for days; it was the last of him.
Later, when people came to pay their respects,
to tell me how “He was in a better place,”
“He died doing what he loved”
only the ache remained,
like heart surgery without anesthesia.
I would share the bag and its contents
with anyone who was interested.
A friend put her arm around me and said:
“You don’t have to worry anymore. All the things
you were afraid of have already happened to you.”