Posts Tagged ‘lost’

The secret, she says, is to put yourself
in the mindset of the thing that is lost.
And so it is she finds her lover’s shoes,
her misplaced keys, the coin I thought
was missing. It’s her superpower,
she says. I just think to myself,
if I were a key, where would I be?
For years, I have felt this—
how she imagines her way inside me,
enters me like sunshine inside water,
shining until, I, too, feel found.

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The day is a rudderless path
and still I cling to star charts,
to maps. As if knowing
a destination is synonymous
with purpose. If the wind
should steal the maps,
would I rush to make them anew?
I say there is beauty
in the drift, yet I keep
carving new oars.
I am learning to love
what a day is.
Sometimes, I trust
what is here.

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In Copley Square, off the Green Line, One Block from Trinity Church

I stepped off the train into the subway station,
ran to the news stand to look at candy,
then turned to ask mom, Can we buy it?
Blur of strangers. Thunder of trains.
Voice of man announcing arrivals.
Heart pounding. Heart pounding.
Where is my mother?
Child crying. Stale scent of piss.
Did she leave me?
I ran through the turnstile, then up, up,
up to find sidewalk, taxis, traffic, sirens,
businessmen, tourists, panhandlers,
and the smallness of myself,
a seven-year-old girl alone in a city
a thousand miles from home.
That was when I learned
you could know exactly where you are
on a map and still be lost.
That was when I learned
how desperately the heart
longs to be found.

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charting our course
using mushroom rings—
earthbound constellations

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What happened to my inner fool?
So serious—as if she forgot how
to joke, how to tease, how
to fall down and come up laughing.
Just today she wore a prune face
for real. She slapped at any hand
that would tickle her. I keep waiting
for her to crack a grin and say,
Fooled you. I remember the jingle
of the bells on her hat, spontaneous
music, the sound so bright my heart
sat up like a good dog, each tinkling
a bell calling me home.  

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Advice to Self: Get Lost

To move forward, move forward.

But first, get lost.

Really lost. If you have a map,

burn it. Not that there’s

anything wrong with a map.

But you must recalibrate

the one using it. Let her not know

where she is. And if she does know,

perhaps through rote,

perhaps through muscle memory,

then spin her around

with a blindfold on,

the way kids do when pinning

a paper tail on a donkey.

Spin her until she has no idea

which direction to walk with that tail.

Spin her until she falls.

And then let her do as St. Francis taught—

let step in whatever direction

her head is pointing.

Let her trust that any direction she steps

can be the right way forward,

every path can be a path toward love.

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The way, of course.

Your mind, your head,

your hope, your heart.

Face. Your footing. Virginity.

Shirt buttons. Coat buttons.

Breath. Bearings.

Balance. Your deposit.

Your dignity.

Respect. Perspective.

Quarters and pens

between the car seats.

Your accent. Your appetite.

My trust. Baby teeth.

Your innocence. Sunglasses.

Your job. Your cool.

Your shirt. Your gut.

Your grip. Your hair.

The key to the house.

The key to your car.

The key to staying calm

when something crucial is lost.

Like time. Like memories—

the ones in which we had no clue

just how much we had to lose.

Like our nerve. Like our fear.

Like this day, our only chance

to show up. Like this now,

our next chance to let go.

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That Song

I want to slip into the song

you sang, the one with verse

about loss. I want to hang

on its notes as if they were branches

I could swing from, want to climb

through its chorus, want to meet it

in its rests, want to offer it tea.

I want to ask the guitar

about your fingers, about

how they knew where

to find the melody. And how?

I want to speak with the loss itself,

want to ask it if it’s sure its lost,

want to offer it a map made of apples

and wings and moon.

I want to hear the silence after

the song, and then beg it, beg it,

to keep singing.

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I said to my daughter, This time

let’s go without the map.

Never before did it occur to me

it might be more fun to be lost.

There were paths through tall dry stalks,

yes, but perhaps they were more—

an intimate landscape inviting me

again and again to lose myself now,

to lose myself now. It is harder to do

that it seems. The rustle of dry leaves,

the scent of earth, the blue sky overhead

like true north. But lost, I kept finding,

and found, I kept losing, and all

the while I kept laughing, oh, the joy

of putting one foot in front of the other,

the joy in not knowing which way

the path might turn next.




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Beside the dirt road

we find a whole bouquet’s worth

of purple penstemon,


pink wild roses, orange

globe mallow, and countless

yellow weeds. My daughter


picks them, a bride to joy,

and though there is thunder

it doesn’t rain, except for petals,


yellow sweet clover, that

she sprinkles along the dirt

to leave a trail behind us,


just in case we get lost, Mom.

she says. Sometimes love

seems to rise right out of the dirt

and damned if somehow


on that one-way road

I didn’t get wholly, beautifully,

heart breakingly lost.

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