Stories From Growing Up: Smuggle Up

Seven years old, we went to Disneyland and I got my first purse. It was a crossbody with a tiny silver crown. I wore it everywhere, for years, even when the lining started to fall apart. It was full of little bits of nonsense, but it was all my sorts of nonsense.

I took it with me through the airport for entertainment and snacks.

Before customs, my mom took me aside and asked to put something in my purse– I had the room, so I said alright. $10,000 in the Disney purse, $10,000 dollars to hide from customs. How many of us agreed to do it?

I think they were hiding through us, so they could hide the numbers from everyone else. But I still don’t truly know why, just that it never felt right.


I rest my head on your shoulder
you take the picture and let me go
take the picture and I don’t know,
if it’s all the same to you,
I don’t want it this way

You light a cigarette
ducking under an umbrella
going out into the rain
I taste the smoke as you go,
if it’s all the same to you,
I’m a little over the burn

You sit on the edge of the room now
indentations in the middle cushion
where you used to be,
won’t retract, no welcome back,
if it’s all the same to you,
I think I’m gonna spread out now

I’d show up for you out of love,
ride the aisle seat so you can see
be a window ornament
while you sit on your phone,
If it’s all the same to you,
I think I should sleep.

smooth white, you find the walls
more interesting than my eyes,
your drink is a better walk
than a walk with me,
If it’s all the same to you
I think this is it.


Airport breathing, morning leaving
The smell of coffee cups and toothpaste
My God, you just gave it up

Sleepy people leaving seasons,
Coming and going, don’t know their reasons
Not sure where there is left to go
walking in circles, maybe someday I’ll know

Stand in arrivals for nobody at all
no clutching tickets or hearing that call
no luggage or passports
just exits and glass doors

You departed remiss
but it seems you planned this
tanked and sunken,
our crippled dysfunction

Splitting armrests with strangers
ignore the phonecalls, polite exchanges
still got your house key and that locket,

treat me like a souvenir,
but you lost it.