‘things’ I have lost
There is a treasure box, in it is everything I have ever lost,
opening it however, comes with a cost.
I could seek my dad's sense of humor,
but attached to him are the visuals of realities that to others were just rumor.
I could look for my husband's beautiful eyes,
but they are surrounded with how I feel not having gotten to tell them goodbye.
I could look for my Grandfather's gentle nature-
but it's glued to his cries as I carried him to the house after finding him; with that razor.
I could find my Grandmother's LOVE in just a second, I know it-
but it's welded to smiling at her eyes as she died, and I was horrified but couldn’t show it.
I could search for a time I felt loved by my mom,
but it's more likely I'd find in a ring box- a nuclear bomb.
I could go way back to my first love's laugh,
but I know when I'd hear it, I would also hear that gun blast.
I could look for my best friend, how I'd well up with joy!
but attached to that is an image of his funeral, and a very sad little boy.
I could look for myself... like in a past form,
but until recently any version of me was some sort of raging terrible storm.
I could look for my youth, my innocents, my childhood,
but they are all wrapped up in scads of paperwork- and none of it good.
I could chose to reclaim my aunt who was nothing but pure good and sound,
but as big as our love was, attached to it now is how small cancer made her, 62 pounds.
I could easily desire to want to see my dog-
but I had to work years to get past the time wrapped around her of sad fog.
I suppose I could look for a tangible thing...
my favorite chapstick, that one blue sweater, my husband's class ring-
I guess I don't miss much, of things you can hold,
I never found value in money, possessions; I don't even care for nostalgia truth be told.
I know where that box is, I see it all the time-
it's my heart that's the 'chest' and the key- in my mind.
I am not searching for my past, not anymore...
anything I have lost comes with something that keeps me emotionally poor.
I can't even think of a thing I'd desire or for a day want to borrow,
because all I seek now- is the day after tomorrow.
There'd be a purple ribbon.
A leaf dried between the pages of Ride the Wind.
More baby teeth than seem reasonably possible.
There'd be a business card with Dad's phone number printed in dark green.
And then there'd be bigger things.
Innocence. Faith. Trust.
There'd be love, lots and lots of love.
There'd be whole entire people in there.
But I wouldn't reach for them. I lost them on purpose.
They've tried to be found before, but I just bury them under the soft folds of my yellow baby blanket. I might stop to look at my cowgirl hat and the matching pair of boots. I might even think about picking them up, but then I'd continue on, inside the terribly big treasure chest of all my lost things. I might begin to feel hopeless, as I waded through a sea of bobby pins and earring backs, but I hope, after long enough... I'd see her.
The little girl with blazing red hair and matching fire in her eyes. A brave little girl. A good little girl. A little girl so full up on loving life that she spread it all around like Christmas confetti. The smile never seemed to leave her lips. A laugh barely caged under rosy cheeks. A wonderment reflected in the way she ran tiny fingers along leaves and lilac petals. A deep well of kindness in the core of her, where others might come and drink and drink until they were drunk on the sweetness of her spirit, and somehow, still, she'd be full to the brim, spilling little drops of joy wherever she ventured. I'd look for her first, so that maybe, just maybe, I might take her hand and I might walk with her again. I might carry her out of that place full of lost things. I might drink and drink her in until she was found, at last in the place she should have stayed... But.
There is no treasure chest wherein to search for the little girl, for her hope, for her quick laugh, her unquenchable joy. Because the world came and drank and drank and drank, and she gave and gave and gave. Until. One fateful day, she ran dry. What had seemed impossible had happened-- she had nothing left to give, not one drop of joy left to share because they'd taken it all from her and given none in return. And so she is gone, and I would not find her, even if I had a treasure chest of everything I ever lost.
Because she isn't lost.
I cling to the treasure of memory, and the doubloons shine brighter as future fades into past.
Her hair is thick, slightly coarse. It sticks to my fingers just a little when I run my hands through; a soft linen flow, instead of a fine silk. She's utterly unselfconscious, and I'm absolutely enamored.
Her lips never really need colors, and makeup is something she uses out of habit instead of necessity. My favorite times are when she steps from the shower, wrapped in a towel. Her brown and sandy-colored hair is wet to black, and it streaks back along her skull, reminding me of the dancers from Simply Irresistible.
But she's prettier.
The towel drops to the floor, and she's forever caught in a pose as my mind snapshots. She's almost a ballerina, hand outstretched to the mattress, one knee up, one foot grounded, toes flexed, frozen in my mind in the act of climbing into bed.
Waiting for me.
Her skin is bronze and her eyes a deep brown. Her teeth are perfectly white, straight, grinning. She looks back at me looking at her as she climbs and we both fall.
I slide up next to her; earthtones contrast with my stark white. She laughs at the ticklish spot on her neck and the smell of her is more than soap and shampoo and her arms wrap me and want me and hold tighter than I've any right to be held.
That embrace is yesterday and tomorrow and it's every today, even in the arms of another.
A trove of memories like these visit in dreams that sometimes feel more like nightmares. I reach into the horde, searching for and clinging to the good before it became something else.
She and I live our separate lives, but I sometimes walk in shadows of longing, looming shade.
A treasure chest rests before me full of all the things I'd long thought gone.
The dollar store barbie dolls fashioned with my own sewings sleep atop one another. The stuffed hand me down animals lay lifelessly on their backs. My first baby doll still wearing the marker makeup I painted on her face so long ago. So many lost childhood items, and yet there's one thing I seek.
I remove each item from the top carefully: toys, 25 cent vending machine jewelry, skates, worn out shoes, fake makeup, dress up clothes, an old tea set, and various other items as I slowly make my way to its depths.
"She has to be here somewhere," I say as I dig deeper into the chest, removing photographs of my grandparents, a framed picture of my once happy family, a bottle of joy, a capsule of peace, and a canister of hope.
"Where could she be, come on." I'm almost at the bottom of the chest when I remove a white dress that belonged to my mother, and I would later use to pretend to be a bride. I raise it up and take in its simplicity and beauty. It's old in its fashion, but the sparkles remain intact along with its long trained veil. Memories flood of a young me, twirling in front of the mirror pretending to be a bride, hoping for a love like the one my parents once shared. I smile when the dress is snatched from my hand followed by a child's laughter.
There she is.
She twirls with the dress as her short, bouncy curls float in the air, and her dimples sink deep into her cheeks. So young, so innocent, so...pure.
"There you are," I say as she stares up at me with her deep green-blue eyes, full of promise and hope.
"Here I am," she giggles, "aren't I the prettiest bride? I'm going to marry the handsomest man and be in movies, and have kids, and have lots of money to buy 25 ponies."
"25 ponies? Don't you think thats a little too much?" I tease.
"No because I'm going to have a big house with a huge stable for the ponies, and lots of puppies. Oh, and a giant pool I can swim in whenever I want."
"Is that so?" I ask.
"Yes! when I'm a grown-up, I'll have everything I ever wanted and more. Maybe I'll even be a famous singer or...or a writer. My teacher says I'm the best writer in class, and I should write more stories."
I smile. I look at her studying every curvature of her face. The untainted skin and eyes full of so much life. Joy that can't be disrupted no matter the chaos. She always finds the good in everything...and everyone. She's everything I used to be...until I lost her.
"Well?" she asks as she fashions her dress in front of the mirror, "what do you want?"
A simple yet deep question. What do I want? I used to know, but somewhere along the journey I lost it. Dreams died. Hopes laid to rest. Pain deepened, and what I wanted didn't matter. I lost it. I lost her. The little girl who had big hopes and dreams, who looked at everything with wonder and possibility, soon replaced by a 30-year-old woman filled with fear and harsh realities.
"Well, I wanted to find you, and I did."
"Me? Why?" she says, crinkling her eyebrows in confusion.
"Because" I say picking up and putting on a familiar red dress that fits perfectly now. I grab the tea set in the corner of the treasure chest and set it on the ground, "I wanted to have a dress up tea party, and thought you'd be the perfect person to have it with. Are you in?"
She squeals with delight as she snatches the baby doll, the barbies and a few stuffed animals to join the party.
I admire her as she pours invisible liquid into the plastic tea cups, oblivious to the world that's falling apart around her. She doesn't have much, yet she has everything she needs, and big dreams for everything she wants.
"Will you tell me a story?" she asks.
"A story? Well, aren't you the best writer in class? Shouldn't you be telling me a story?" I say.
"Please?" she begs with her puppy-dog eyes. Damn, I was good.
"Okay," I say, "how about a story about a girl who loses her favorite dream and goes on an adventure to find it?"
"How does someone lose a dream?" she asks skeptically.
"How about you pour me some tea, and I'll tell you."
Her dimples sink deeply into her cheeks as she excitedly pours the tea, and I begin the story.
"Once upon a time, there was a girl who had a dream..."
Has Anyone Seen
my innocence? Kept
in this old gray box;
a fistful of dry leaves
turned up to receive
It must have died
in the ground
I forgot I‘d buried
it in, now a decayed
or did I lose it long ago
in my 77‘ Nova
with you in my lap
shifting gears, pulling
the hill in low gear?
hands on my shoulders,
hips swaying to the 80s
lost in the rhythm
of your thighs.
Dreams of a kid
would be found in my
treasure chest of lost
and found things.
Most ecstatic of feelings
would probably cling
on my heart
however, for the discovery
of every one of those
memories, dreams and
and desires of my youth,
little kids imagine great
What I miss most.
If I could search for the one thing I lost, it would be the thing I lost first.
I lost it before I knew what it was; what it meant to even be a girl. I think I lost it too young. It was first taken from me when I was born, fighting for my life in the hospital. It was taken from me at five when my mother would ignore me, and my dad would punish me for simply being a little kid. It was taken from me at eight when I was abused by a family member. It was taken from me at nine when my older sister never wanted to spend time with me, or did sisterly things. I couldn't understand why she didn't want to play with me. Girlhood was taken from me when I would get made fun of for playing with Barbies and liking the color pink. So, I stopped playing with toys, started crushing on boys, and switched to the color blue. Girlhood was taken from me when I realized I couldn't keep a female friend in elementary school; I thought there was something wrong with me. Girlhood was taken from me before I reached 13 because I had to act like an adult and treat my older brother as if I was the older sister instead. Girlhood ended for me when I saw all the girls in my class looking and acting like normal teenagers, and I always felt so out of place. I saw everyone out with their friends, doing normal teenage girl activities, not me though. Girlhood ended for me when my sister had her first baby at 20. As I got older, I was treated as just an aunt and fill-in babysitter, and no longer a kid or younger sister. No longer a person. Girlhood ended when my mom only chose men above her own kids. My girlhood ceased to exist at 17 when the doctors told me I would never be able to have kids. My girlhood stopped when the depression overtook me and controlled my entire life. I guess the question is: Did I lose my girlhood, or did I ever really have it at all? I just wanted to have a normal life, be free to be a girl, in a girl-loathing world; in a girl-loathing family. I've never been able to experience real girlhood, and I've been desperate to get it back. I don't want to continue getting older and realizing that I missed out on so much. I want to find it again, and embrace it. I've been thinking a lot about girlhood recently. Does anyone know how to rediscover girlhood?
As the Carillon Plays, So My Life Plays Out
I resist the treasure box of everything I've lost.
Not out of fear. Not out of guilt. I resist reappraisal of all I've lost because it's the past. Rummaging through it would be like trying to translate Homer into Tarot, their languages not in my wheelhouse by any stretch. How can I translate things in my past with the language of things to come? Things in my past are written in a dead language.
The treasure box of everything I've lost is expanding. I am constantly losing things, for without loss there is no growth. Each item in the box was an education. I grow wiser as my treasure box expands.
There is only one thing I would search for first, but to say that is a trick: I would search for my future, rising like an evanescent mist into reality as I distance myself from the past. (You can't see the future when you're in it. Like a fog.) It's there somewhere because the future just cannot be without things lost, forgotten, and dealt with, under the lock and key of perspective.
I open the treasure box and its carillon plays, and that is my future—intangible and orchestrated in expectation.
There would be no future without the things in my treasure box of past things lost. It is a continuum, but only the things lost can be hoarded away in sequestration. I can look but I can no longer touch them. But as much a part of my life were the things in that box, the future is more a part of my life, whether harmonic or discordant.
The past is dead, interesting in the way a dead language is—important but irrelevant; the future is alive and growing.
When I'm dead and cremated, that treasure box will burn as well, and its ashes will combine into what I remain, in only yore. My past and future will be indistinguishable, as the ashes of what was me. It will be a summary of everything I've learned in my life on planet Earth. Hopefully those ashes will fertilize the Earth for the things to come.
forget me not
photos of faces
blurred by time
and broken hearts;
past the bruises and marks
of knowing pain,
past the scars
wrought by grief;
the cat-scans and IV poles
and empty bottles
that hold only dust
and the metallic memory
tainted by blood;
the scaled silver
that never shone
just meant to
show you off
like a prized
when you reach
the silent screams
of a six year old
and the gathered tears
mourning a future
that she will never know,
and you will reach
of the chest
and you will grope
should have been
stood a chance
to be lived.
for the Key...
for the whole treasure box
is worthless of all you've
ever lost a lifespan
without the Key
to what exactly
is, was, or who
it was, or is?
that's doing the
seeking out amidst
without the Key
there is no
the entire dark
of the World
is way too big
a pick a spade
the echo bottom
the pockets of
the mind and
for the Key
If you had an entire treasure box of everything you've lost, what would you search for first? Challenge @Raynstar