NaPoWriMo Day 7: Found Key

by Rachel Creager Ireland


Mid-century modern design is trendy again.

She found a key in the bottom of her purse.
It must have been there for ages. It came from a motel,
with an old plastic fob the color of metallic gold.
She had to think for a while to guess
that the strange word printed on the fob
was a motel where she’d stayed the last time
she’d been out to the west coast.
The kids were small then, it was so long ago,
and it was embarrassing to have kept the key.
Nonetheless, the proper thing to do would be
to mail it back. They’d have changed the lock
by now, maybe installed a card key system.
Maybe it wasn’t a motel anymore. Maybe
the building had been converted to apartments
or storage units. A flea market, an artist retreat center,
band practice spaces, a produce market, or offices.
It couldn’t be possible that they’d been renting out
that room for ten years, missing a key.
No one there would still remember her,
or that she had failed to return the key.
They definitely did not want this key back.
It would be sensible to toss it in the trash.
But there would be some miniscule satisfaction
in returning it: in a decade of lost keys,
forgotten promises, blown deadlines, delayed
decisions, and work left undone,
there could be one thing
she would finish.