At the latest yard sale, I choose a basket

from among a throng of baskets all pleading

to be chosen, waving their handles wildly,

opening their mouths, as if they are all

calling out at once: Fill me, fill me.

I have no purpose unless there is

something put inside my circle…

How true, this chant. This desire.

Bread basket. Sewing basket.

Easter. Rice. Gift. There are

baskets woven so tight they carry

water, so dense they keep out earth,

so loose that grain sifts down from

the chaff. A place for the lost,

collector of odd things, the one-off

that needs safe harbor.

How like a basket I was, and perhaps,

still am. How I want to feel my being

filled with something, to be of use

—real use—worthy of the work entrusted

to me. How I wanted my body filled;

to bear, to carry, to hold safe and never

falter. Woven tightly against the world,

yet supple, to cushion the buffets of life.

To be chosen, taken up, a hand encircling

my own handle, a purpose that claims me

and makes me whole.

Yvette Flaten

Yvette Viets Flaten, (Eau Claire, WI) writes award-winning fiction and poetry. She enjoys the outdoors, cooking, reading, and she makes a point to write every day, following Sinclair Lewis’ advice to “make black marks on white paper.” Her recent work has appeared in Blue Heron Review, Nightingale and Sparrow, Silver Birch Press, Barstow and Grand, and North Dakota Quarterly.

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