I lost the night, the skeleton key to my grandmother’s china cabinet, my shadow at the airfield when the military planes went by, the turquoise and chartreuse scarf my mother brought me back from Ireland last May, my resolve.
I lost the notebook with all the passwords, the memo from my boss about tomorrow’s emergency meeting, the apricot dinner-plate dahlia tubers I dug up two months ago, my right to stay silent.
I lost my way out of the forest at twilight, my focus on the last star before cloud blankets settled in, the ability to stay composed during the police interrogation, my favorite coffee mug, my posture.
I lost the burnt sienna leather gloves you bought me, my father’s father’s chest of war medals, the note I left on the refrigerator to remind me of ___________ , my trust in the government, my affection for the media.
I lost my checkbook, my debit card, my childhood bank book, my morals from twenty years ago in the shuffle of the twenty-first century.
I lost my sleeping bag, the one with the broken zipper, anyway. The directions to the secret cove at the shore, the obsidian rock, the stone plateau covered in barnacles where the tiniest creatures pool in the ankle-high water warmed by the sun. Where the spearfisherman cherry-picking the taug taugs that taste like the lobster and crab they eat scraped up his back on the rocks during high tide, and disappeared.
I lost the crystal earring from Czechoslovakia, the large amber pendant with insects stuck inside forever brought to me by my now-deceased ciocia [aunt] from the open market in Krakow. I lost my will to open the door to the universe and say hello to whomever lurks awkwardly inside.
I lost the onyx eyeglasses I need for driving at night, my favorite prescription cheetah reading glasses, the pills that help me sleep but often cause me to hover above toward my bedroom ceiling and witness myself as dream.
The GPS that was left in the car before the crash, the remote on which the seven and nine do not click in. I lost the address to the place that was supposed to help me. I lost my patience for anyone not an innocent child, elderly person, or animal.
I lost my ability to do math; calculate right angles I could no longer see, approximate to the nearest meaningful decimal, the right attitude for talking a jumper down from the platitudes/highest skyscrapers in New York City. I lost my desire for what I used to want so vehemently in my much-younger years.
I lost my father’s sense of ambition; he wanted for me to make six figures, be a success with a large 401k to which he added IRAs when he calculated my paltry tax return annually with the patience of a saint. I lost the ability to work in a cubicle of clocks ticking and unhappy women talking to their estranged spouses during lunch while eating processed-meat sandwiches or takeout from Taco Bell, McDonalds, Wendy’s, Dunkin Donuts, Kentucky Fried Chicken, or Subway.
I lost the spare key to the shed where I buried my doll heads and eyelashes I cut, thinking they would then grow longer because of something I overheard my mother saying to her best friend; the only key to my elderly mother’s safety deposit box [formerly jointly owned by both my parents before my beloved father’s earthly demise] when I retrieved my adoption papers and birth name for the first time.
I lost the antique, yellow, “puffy” lamp bequeathed to me by my favorite voyek [uncle], the white double-blossom rose of Sharon, the female apple tree without its mate [didn’t return after last year’s interminable winter], seven types of designer coneflowers, including Apricot Sunrise, Double-decker Green, Double-decker Pink, Mixed berry–because I was too dangerously depressed last spring to weed.
I lost my convictions, my definitions of happiness, love.
It wasn’t all due to carelessness; there was some fatigue. A spiritual fatigue that settled in –that winter the three ghosts of the House came and watched everything.
I must confess the onerous guilt of multitasking / juggling a million fractured things while on metaphorical crack / caffeine to counter the aforementioned spiritual plus, autoimmune / lupus fatigue.
The ghosts came to me again in the early morning this stunning September morning and spoke slowly, barely audibly, in my left ear [clogged more than the right from goldenrod allergies] that everything, yes, everything was going to be okay;
that forgiveness was not their jurisdiction but my own.
The sole female ghost of the House, Rita Lemery, was the one who did the whispering while the ghosts of her husband, Roger, and my late father lurked on either side of her.
Rita’s ghost cooed with a voice of pure golden honey that my poem about losing things was beautiful, and that she and the other ghosts [even ones who did not frequent my cellar], including that ethereal / eternal version of my father, were proud of me.