Safety by Dodd Ellsworth

I had a high enough account balance that the bank gave me a free safe deposit box. I didn’t even ask for it. The lady just handed me this little key. I said, how big is the box? She said, three by five. I said, you mean inches? She said yes. I said, this box you want to give me is the size of an index card? She said, well yeah, but it’s three-dimensional. It’s about a foot deep. That’s the third dimension. Twelve. I said, so a mouse could live in there but not a rabbit. She said, not a full-grown rabbit no. I said, wouldn’t it be nice if you could shrink down and live in that box yourself? Because there’s a lot of violence in the world. She said, most people use the box to store important documents, like birth certificates. I said, sure you can get smacked on the head by a robber. That’s one type of violence, and it’s really bad. But I’m thinking more about emotional violence. People say cruel things, hurtful things, just nasty. She said, do you own a home? You can keep the deed to your house in that little box. I said, I have family members who won’t even speak to each other. And I’m not talking about second cousins. I mean brothers and sisters. She said, maybe you have some heirlooms. A pocket watch or necklace would slide into that box nicely.

Dodd Ellsworth is a musician and writer residing in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. His work has previously appeared in the Great Smokies Review.

Photo of Rodion Kutsaev