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What's in My Pocket?

“Adivina, adivina,” Lidia always asked me. We sat. She watched her mother’s weaving sales. I watched her giggle and suck on chile covered cucumbers or mangos.

“Adivina, adivina.” Lidia tied the open end of the bag and ripped open a corner at the bottom to suck out the last bits of acidic liquid. “Give up?”

“Yes,” I replied. I always gave up, partly because my mind tired of working out the puzzle, for a reward didn’t match the effort. I always gave up, mostly because I never was much good at jokes, much less in Spanish.

“Adivina, adivina.” Lidia picked up a bag of pebbles. Her sister Micaela had already drawn the hopscotch pattern on a zigzagged slant down the cobblestone walkway. It was enough to the side so that we could easily get out of the way of tourists gliding down to the lake in clap, clapping plastic bottomed sandals.

Lidia held the dirty plastic clump out to me. I let the dust coat my fingers. Stones. Stones make me think of pockets. Stones in his Pockets was a play I saw in a London theater in college. The character filled his pockets with stones to drown himself.


Today pockets make me think of my dad and his stories and his happiness at simple things.

“I wanted to fill my pockets,” he says. “All the adults had so many fun things in their pockets. Gum. Matches. Candy. Nickels. I didn’t have anything.” I envy the happiness of warm pockets. I envy the sadness of stones. I don’t have ‘nothing’ in my pockets. If anything, I have air. Air used, exhaled to bubble out and choke, bloat, or sting like cough coated lungs.

I’m tired of myself and all the same words I use to describe the nebula of choices my thumbs pinch inside my pants. I use a thesaurus instead to describe the residue that clings to the inner lining outside myself.

What’s in my pockets?

“Adivina, adivina,” I want to ask myself at age 10.

It’s something gangly, cherry rust, jagged, rigid, coarse and suitable. Future?

“Adivina, adivina,” I want to ask myself at age 16.

It’s something, stumpy, plumb ginger, swirly, craggy, uneven and universal. Beauty?

“Adivina, adivina,” I want to ask myself at age 21.

It’s something overgrown, mud brown, flecked, shaggy, moist and probable. Education?

“Adivina, adivina,” I want to ask myself at age 36.

It’s something squashed, saffron acid green, specked, ridged, scratchy, and mediocre. Home?

“Adivina, adivina,” I want to ask myself at the next age I am finally able to throw these pants away.

It’s something elongated, cobalt, slate, specked, knobbed, gnarled and unjust.

“Give up?”

“Yes,” I reply. I always give up, partly because my mind tires of working out the puzzle, for a reward that doesn’t match the effort. I never gave up before, mostly because I was never much good at releasing control. But, if I don’t let go, my hands will always be fists against the elements, fingers never flexible enough to be warm in my pockets.

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