My Grandma Lulu never left the house without swearing, because she couldn’t find her keys. If we were going out, I knew it was coming. I’d have to wait by the door until she swore and cursed her life, like she was casting a clumsy spell to summon them.
Sometimes they would appear as close as her coat pocket. She’d put her faux fur and plastic floral babushka on, grabbed her maroon pleather purse—everything for a while would be back to normal. She would always double-check her purse for those keys before locking her apartment door.
During my errands with her, she’d ask, “Did you see me take my keys?” After I told her, she’d quickly turnto look into her secondhand purse, as if she were looking for something misplaced in the trash.
Whenever I leave to go out, I question if I have everything before I lock my door. I pat down my pockets to make sure I’m all right. I find I have to catch myself from panics I’ve inherited, like high blood pressure or bad debt. When I head out into the world, I try to carry only what I need.
David Mathews earned his MA in Writing and Publishing at DePaul University. His work has appeared in Eclectica Magazine, After Hours, CHEAP POP, One Sentence Poems, OMNI Reboot, Word Riot, Silver Birch Press, and Midwestern Gothic. His poetry was nominated by Eclectica Magazine for The Best of The Net 2014. He is a life-long Chicagoan, and he currently teaches at Wright College and College of Lake County.