Lost and Found
A big cardboard box outside the
school office holds the soft heap
of sweaters and coats, gathered
from ball yard and bathroom, from
under a hallway bench. Things
once needed now discarded.
The yellow barrette slips to the
bottom, a soiled scarf slides
away. During an unusually cold
August evening, the mother asks,
Where is your green jacket? Her
exasperated sigh is also left behind.
Any found garments have grown
too small, are torn or stained. The
child will ignore her fatherâ€™s chiding,
evade his motherâ€™s quick hug.
None will notice the altering,
one misplaced hair ribbon later,
one missing glove at a time.
Use the firescape, Z-stepping down
the brick outer wall, essential
as a skeleton, a clean way to leave
via window to window. And
with landings for moments to gulp
air, recalibrate grips. Reconsider
temptation of plunge into air.
If only we could take ourselves
this way: descend via logic,
measured, away from what burns,
not linger to snatch another heated
yearning, lifted in shimmering warmth.
. . . have something to teach
with seasonal arrowed certainty
how freely they abandon earth
lifting in a focused clatter
soar through orange & purple sky
accept first the call of need
and only then the yearn for love
hold what is real in the calm head
the downy breast
in recall of slate taste of wind
blue-gold smell of cold and grain and water
will dive for joy, for food
preen for survival, not passion,
then, with exquisite timing, knife away
release offspring and home
know what to leave behind
We eat from each otherâ€™s plates
the tines of our forks clang in
the passing of morsels.
My spoon enters your mouth
your salt spills across my napkin
bad luck creeps over us both.
We donâ€™t have to exchange love to
know how we need each other —
we have cooked this situation together
me looking into your eyes, you looking
into mine. If we help each other, we
can avoid or heal scalds and cuts.
We can stir our pots together. We can
watch over each otherâ€™s shoulders. We
can call out the warning.
Where is that time for sitting
in the movies? God, we loved the movies.
Sunday drives: seeing goats, windmills.
Recall time to refinish furniture, spade
a new garden, play cards after dinner?
Having sex, even if one of us didnâ€™t feel
like it, then that one roused by giving love.
Everyone we knew was still alive.
Homes, then, had windows, large and open,
also the doors. However long the night,
the day felt right. We could take the flow,
learn to ride bikes, daydream in church,
or look up, smiling, at the sound of laughter
two doors down.
Blessed are the calendar keepers, for they shall measure
our days in rectangular allotments,
And our plans and accomplishments will be recorded
in evidence of our worthiness.
Our commitments will be called irrefutable and we will
be deemed holy in the manner of our multi-tasking.
Surely the late-comers and meeting-missers will be
humbled in their absent-mindedness and will envy the
calendar keepers who are most righteously present, and
who will be found for committee assignments and
chairmanships to laud and adorn their meticulous days.
So sure that I know this place.
it is where I belong.
Yet, no. Today,
blinds drawn. The door
refuses my key.
Of course it comes to
everyone, this day.
The unvoiced expectations
reverberate. The wish
made, the pebble never
Nothing for it but to crumple.
Even a new key, new lock:
entering is changed.
The threshold no longer
bars me, but I will
Something in me is gated.
Habitation will never
be so easy.