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Collecting Guitar Picks

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You shed them the way other people
drop gum wrappers and opinions–
that is, everywhere.
Today, I found one in the shower.
They gather in shoes and pockets
under chairs and piano benches
on bookshelves and windowsills
in the driveway or the cat’s bowl.
Last summer, I dug one up in the garden.

Almost heart shaped,
they look as if a heart forgot itself, relaxed
with a deep sigh
and stopped holding in its stomach.
I collect them all,
only to hand them back to you
the same way I hand you sandwiches
and stories from your childhood,
curfews and unwanted advice
and money and very occasionally,
jokes you laugh at–
all you take and lose and cast off
things I hold for you
like stepping stones
you can follow forward
going wherever you dream
inside that laughing, mysterious head of yours.

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