She showed me a plastic coffee cup coaster,
cut in the shape of the state of California,
which she’d bought in San Diego the year before
and carried home smuggled amidst her socks.
She had two novelty mugs in her cupboard
which she’d picked up somewhere in Missouri
both carrying the emblem of the state, chipped
from bangs in the baggage hold, unusable now.
There were postcards hanging above her bed,
baseballs spotless and decorated for Delaware
football shirts for teams she hadn’t know existed,
boarding passes and tinted sunglasses, her journey
depicted in the possessions she had procured.
I could only show her twelve of my tattoos in return,
explaining them with a story or two as she traced the lines.
My mementos are confined by the boundaries
of my body, suspended on display for all to see,
like fridge magnets collected in the shape of a map
and easier to get through customs.