Lifted by a warm current, ballooned
for a moment out of the slow swirl
of dust and paper cups blowing along
the alley, this throwaway plastic bag
product of modern technology, made
by the billions, the degradable kind
you get at the checkout when the clerk
asks you the inevitable question.
Upside down now, strangely inflated,
almost responsive, balanced among gusts
of wind, making no sound, its handles
dangling loops somehow reminding me
of snapshots of my father, on the porch,
that first autumn after the war ended,
wearing that slight, mostly forgotten
article of clothing, the undershirt.
But this is no revenant, no survivor
of those days. There are no features
on this face, nothing but a blankness
reflecting the light of the streetlamp
on the corner. It is only a plastic sack,
having come to the end of its journey,
almost aware that something is missing,
managing to rise up for one last look.