“The Travel Bag” by Scott Thomas

Let’s go to K-Mart and buy you a cheap backpack.

Tomorrow night before we leave for our trip,

We’ll fill it with Life Savers, Fancy Fruits,

Golden foil packs of Beech-Nut Peppermint Gum,

A game of tic-tac-toe

With magnetic X’s and O’s,

A book of word search puzzles,

Or just your iPhone would be fine.

When we are far from home

With me behind the wheel,

Slowly pull the zipper

And take in the peppermint scent.

I promise you:

On the morning when you

And your fiancée are about

To take your first trip together,

You will remember;


Spare glasses,

Credit card,

Shaving kit,

In your new travel bag.


Someday when you have traveled

So far from home,

Like your mom and me,

You can never come back,

Your travel bag stuffed —

Seashells and Viewmaster slides.

We are travelers, can never be anything else,

Always leaving someone for someplace else.

You’ll say good-bye to us someday.

What matters is not how you go,

But who it is beside you,

Whatever horizons may bring;

Cloudless visibility

Or nimbus bearing snow.







Scott Thomas‘ background includes a B.A. in Creative Writing/Literature from Bard College, a M.S. in Library Science from Columbia University, and a M.A. in English from the University of Scranton.  He has work published or forthcoming in Mankato Poetry Review, The Kentucky Poetry Review, Sulphur River Literary Review, Webster Review, Poetry East, Stirring: A Literary Collection, Poem, Philadelphia Stories, Poetry Bay, Floyd County Moonshine, Talking River, Willard & Maple, and Pointed Circle.  (facebook.com/scott.thomas.1675275)