Things and More Things
Nothing to Declare

What is it? A No Parking sign? Part of a car? A cleaver? A map of the great lakes? I found it in the street while running over piles of dead fishflies in 95-degree Detroit heat. Then I carried it like the Olympic torch in my sweaty palm for another 4 miles and collapsed in my father’s kitchen. I suppose we have to take it home with us, M said. It was added to the stockpile of miscellaneous debris I had collected so far for the annual import: baking powder, vanilla, various bottles of vitamins, some old aprons, a stray baseball, 9 pairs of new underpants, a souvenir plastic replica of the 1952 Wienermobile in the Henry Ford Museum, an advertisement for the long defunct boat to Bob-Lo. Three weeks later I surreptitiously wheeled our bulging suitcases under the Nothing to Declare sign, expecting the bored German customs guy to pull me aside and demand a cut of my treasure. He didn’t even say welcome home.