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My Father’s Map

Prompt, Day 3: Use the senses. Use joy. Use suffering.
Memory is inspiration, says the poetry teacher
The past? A map of your experience, she says.

Last night, a closer look at a hidden map
As if you opened up a stranger’s glove compartment–
(Do they still call them glove compartments?)
As if you opened it and pulled out a paper map
crumpled corners, inexpertly re-folded and
stuffed back in, the small hinged door
slammed shut
with a click.
This is my father’s map.
Whole sections are torn away or
disintegrated. Look at how the old paper, damp and
creased, begins to fade at the folds,
at the way it whitens until the roads there–
and the names of those roads– disappear.

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