what women carry



Women carry Chapstick, watering cans, and small dark bottles of vanilla extract. In our pockets, spools of thread. We carry our children’s fevers, our parents’ arguments, the keys to every door. We carry baby teeth, Easter eggs, packets of letters, tied up with string. We haul the recycling to the curb on Monday morning, and back again on Monday night. We carry forgotten trumpets to the bus-stop, cupcakes to the classroom, orange slices to muddy field. We carry the dreadful news from far away.


We carry salt, wine, song, life itself. We carry lilacs bushes from one home to another, replanting them in a sunny spot. We carry fat creamy babies and exhausted toddlers and quiet eight-year-old boys who don’t like sports.


We carry groceries in from the car, friends home from chemotherapy, and faded photographs hidden in the spines of books. We carry mortgages, and mittens, and lug the long winters on our backs, finally setting them down only when the sap begins to run in the spring.


Women carry baking soda, ball gowns, and celery, wedding rings, sneakers and rice.

Snow shovels, kitchen twine, and firewood…parsley, diamonds, and ice.


Inspired by The Things They Carried, by Tim O'Brien.


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© 2020 Sarah Balsley 

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