“JUST IN CASE”

Over the years,
I've kept a box
just in case.
I think
most people do.
It fills until
its contents
spill out.
Then, I get
a bigger box
to put all of my
old
cords, cables,
adaptors, and
other
miscellaneous
electronic parts
into.

I have a charger
to a phone
that no longer
turns on
without being
plugged in.
It's the flip phone
I had
when I first moved
to Seattle.
It has messages
from friends
I'm no longer
friends with;
messages of love
that
no longer lives.
I'm certain
the charger works.
The battery doesn't.
But,
I need them both
just in case
I need to remember
old sentiments.

Red, white, and
yellow RCA cables.
Just in case
I need to hook up
an old VCR
because I don't know;
maybe I'll need
to play a VHS again?
Those home movies,
full of forgotten
memories, betrayed
to a forgotten technology.

I have USB cables
out my eyes.
Gray ones,
purple ones,
blue ones,
black ones,
and white ones.
I have more USB cables
than I have things
to plug them into.
So they go
here,
into the box I keep
just in case.

Over the years,
it's accumulated.
I have something
that went to
something
I don't have anymore.
I put that something
I still have
into the box I keep,
just in case.

And there, inside
the box I keep,
they all get tangled
into a ball of wires;
an orgy of dead voltage.
With nothing to plug into,
they try and plug into
one another.
VGA inputs smack against
DVI inputs, just in case
something fits.
Nothing ever fits, though,
unless it's a male prong
sliding itself into
a waiting female slot.
The sex of electronics;
manufactured in Taiwan
with a Puritan streak
coursing through them.

Once, every now and then,
I need something
from the box I keep,
just in case.
I reach inside and pull up
the mass.
A couple fall free,
but mostly
they cling
tighter than a tumor.
I start untangling until
I find what I am
looking for.
Then, I untangle some more.
There is always something
wrapped around something
else,
which is wrapped around
something that is wrapped
around
what I need to be free.

I don't know
where most of this goes
or
where it ever went to.
Over the years,
I've forgotten.
Some of these things,
I don't think
have ever
been used.
It's sad.

Nothing is broken
in the box I keep,
just in case.
It's all just
incomplete;
purposeless.
A box of lonely parts
without connection.

Over the years,
I've begun to notice
the resemblance.
Perhaps if I knew
where any of these
parts of mine
went to,
there would be more
functioning
in my life.

At the very least,
I'd have more of a reason
than just telling myself,
"I'll hold onto this,
just in case."

So, I'm throwing mine out
or giving it to Goodwill.
That box I've kept,
just in case,
I don't need to keep.
I don't need a just in case
or an old time sake.
Everything working in my life
today
is where it is for a reason.
And these cables
ought to be
plugged in
by someone
who needs them.
These cables deserve better
than I've never given them.

Most importantly,
I don't need a mess
tangling itself
around
things in my life
I need to be free.

I think I'll keep
the flip phone, though.
And the charger.
Just in case
I ever need to remember
my mid to late twenties;
full of so many
responsible
for
why I am
where I am,
now that I am
here again,
brush in hand.

narrative poem written on 05-17-2014 by: on mattkane.com
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