Enjoy Being Human

Cindy Tran

Ode to an Empty Cardboard Box

I can trust you with my best dress.
You keep the green sequins shiny.
Silk scarves dive into your care.

When you are full, you hold all flaps up
like a bear caught in a summer picnic spree.

You remind me it's okay to rest
crystal glasses with cast iron
as long as many newspapers, foam nuts,
sturdy tape, and space are involved.

You insist that Woolf goes on top of Frost
because that's what nature intended.

You sneak your way to unimaginable places,
between the rusting power saw and old artichoke
green paint in the one-lightbulb basement.

Once, someone left you open and a wind
huffed your flaps closed, one by one,
like a sweet chocolate daylily turning back its bloom.
No need for tape.

And there comes a time when the tape is ripped off
from beneath you. So you fold over yourself,
lie on the floor, and look up at the sky.

You do not dream of a better garage
but you dream of being opened and rediscovered.
You enlist dust and tempt fingers to write short words.
You do not regret water spots and allow them to be
invitations to check for mold.

Cardboard box, you are a shape-shifting haven.
Even in your afterlife, you say Congratulations!

And then you greet me at the grocery store.

About Cindy Tran

Contributor headshot, Cindy Tran

Cindy Tran holds a degree in English Literature from UCLA. In 2015 she was the recipient of The Loft Literary Center’s Spoken Word Immersion Fellowship. She is currently working on a poetry collection that explores war, trauma, and what it means to be American. She can be found on the web at: https://www.facebook.com/fourscorefive

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