My grandmother saved stale bread
in a wooden box on the third shelf
in her little pantry closet. She put it
on hold, as if the bread had come to
some strange junction in its life
where famished children must wait
and watch to see what it would become.

No one could question the temerity of
that woman. There was a strong line,
bright as a shining vein of sapphire
that ran in knowing little paths
across hands that could jettison a
fistful of blanks just as easily
as it could tear stale bread into chunks –
transform those chunks into an age-old,
famous stuffing recipe or into the luxurious,
rich mountains of golden baked pineapple.

I frequently found myself sitting on
the suitcase in the pantry closet and
playing with small wooden horses,
there, by the bread box. I wondered
what the stale bread would be by
dinner time and if I would be allowed
to skip to the front of the line,
before my father and his large plate.

And yet,
I never wondered at the contents of
the suitcase.
Or why it was packed.
Or why it never left the floor
of her little pantry closet.

© Laura A. Lord, 2016


I think, sometimes, poetry is best when it tells a story. My grandmother really did have a little pantry closet, with a bread box, where I would sit and play while both she and my grandfather, and my parents, played cards. I would hide in there with my toys and play for hours, as if that little closet were my own world. Though, she didn’t make the famous stuffing, that was my husband’s grandfather, and the baked pineapple came from my other grandmother, and the suitcase…Well, the best stories have a bit of a lie to them as well. There never was one.

Thank you to MindLoveMisery’sMenagerie for the wordle today and the inspiration!

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48 responses to “Suitcase”

  1. My Mom didn’t have a suitcase for her stale bread…but save it she did and when the magical amount was saved she’d make the best Bread Pudding ever! 🙂

    Liked by 9 people

  2. I love the story, the questions it poses:
    What could be in a suitcase in a pantry?
    Why is it there and maybe that it is a great idea to keep a suitcase in a pantry too.
    A suitcase full of things for in an emergency, tinned food, plasters, a torch perhaps?
    Or maybe this one is full of postcards, documents or even money?
    To create such an open door of thoughts on this beautiful morning,
    Thank you

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thank you, Becky. I love that every idea you had for the contents of the suitcase are different from my own. I suppose I always look towards the dark, and imagined something secretive and hurtful in there, as if she were packed and ready to slip away unnoticed one night.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Oh, if you’re looking for darkness (she types with a big ol’ grin on her face) I also thought about a horror film I once saw way~way back~in~the~day where someone kept a former lover’s head in a bag and then left it on a train. I can do darkness as good as the next, but being more along the line of pragmatic, it’s probably just cleaned out jam jars for making bramble jam. 😀

        Liked by 2 people

  3. Flash fiction in a poem! TY for revealing that there never was a suitcase. And the composite of Grandmothers: I love that. I feel as if I have entered the back door of your writing mind and seen the editor at work. 🙂

    Liked by 4 people

  4. For those interested in what is in the suitcase:
    A picture postcard from Blackpool circa 1900 with a love note on it.
    A pair of black stockings with a seam still in the packet.
    Binoculars, deep brown gloves, a full face balaclava and a pale blue blouse stained with what looks like blood.
    Size 11 high heeled shoes with one heel broken.
    An old book with pressed flowers in tissue between the pages.
    One pot of bramble jam wrapped in a blanket stolen from a hospital with the hospital label clearly visible.
    Bramble jam recipe card saying:

    Ingredients

    4lb / 2kg blackberries

    2lb / 1kg sugar

    2 lemons – juice and rind

    3oz water

    Method:

    ◦Wash the blackberries thoroughly in a colander
    ◦Place the blackberries, lemon and water into a large deep, heavy bottomed pan and stew over a gentle heat for 20 mins or until the fruit is soft
    ◦Remove from heat and use a hand blender to blend the fruit to get rid of any big lumps
    ◦Return to the gentle heat and slowly stir in all the sugar
    ◦Stir until the sugar has dissolved
    ◦Put a large bowl and 6 jam jars into the oven to warm through
    ◦Turn up the heat to high and bring to the boil
    ◦Boil hard for 8 minutes or until the jam has reached setting point
    ◦To find this out simply spoon a little jam onto a cold plate and put it in the fridge for a minute, then push the jam with a spoon, if it does not immediately run back to its originaly position you have reached a set
    ◦Take the bowl out of the oven and sieve as much of the mixture as you like into it to make seedless bramble jam. The rest you can put straight into the jam jars
    ◦Transfer the seedless mixture into the remaining jam jars

    Liked by 3 people

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