ALL THAT SHE CARRIED – Robert G. Wertzler

Going from, going to, or both
She carried just a few things or many
She carried the visible and the invisible
She carried in pockets
She carried in suitcase
She carried in bags
She carried in pack
She carried in hands
She carried in memory
She carried in hope
She carried in fear
She carried all she could
She carried as far as she could
She carried until she could carry no more
She carried until all she carried was lost
She carried until someone took it all
Where is all that she carried now?
All that she carried that was material
It all is scattered on desert sand
(Which desert, which continent?)
(Does it matter which?)
It all sits in some police locker
Or a border post trash bin
Or in some bandit’s truck
Or in the snow of a frozen forest
Or sunk in the sea
Or washed away by some river
With a little luck
She still carries the memory
The stories of home, family, ancestors
Maybe she still carries some hope
More likely
She still carries, if anything at all,
The fear
But in unnumbered many
She carries no more
Not even the memory, hope and fear remain
Perhaps, not even her name
Every language of officialdom has a version of “Jane Doe #___”
Her very native tongue has a word for “missing”

Photo by Adedotun Adegborioye on Unsplash


Bob Wertzler is retired from almost twenty years in the mental health field in California and Arizona. There are times the title, “Recovering Therapist”, seems to fit. In 2006 he retired to move to Western North Carolina to help and become primary care giver for his father who had developed Dementia. Before all that, there was work at various times as a soldier (US Army 1967-70), community organizer, cab driver, welfare case worker, wooden toy maker, carpenter, warehouse worker, and other things. He relates to a line in a Grateful Dead song, “What a long, strange trip its been.”

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