I lost the night, the skeleton key to my grandmother’s china cabinet, my shadow at the airfield when the military planes loomed overhead, the turquoise scarf my mother brought me back from Ireland last May, my resolve.

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 last autumn, 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.

The 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 belief in the media, my sleeping bag, the one with the broken zipper anyway.

I forgot the way to the secret cove at the shore, the obsidian rock, the stone plateau covered in barnacles. Where the spear-fisherman, 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 earrings from Czechoslovakia, the large amber pendant with insects stuck inside forever brought to me from the open market in Krakow. The eyeglasses I need for driving at night, the valerian root that helps me sleep, when needed, but often causes me to hover above myself instead. The GPS that was left in the car before the crash, the TV remote on which the seven and nine do not click in.

I misplaced the address to the place that was supposed to help me. The spare key to the shed where I didn’t mean to bury my childhood, the lamp bequeathed to me by my favorite aunt, my convictions, my definitions of love, enchantment.

I lost my ability to do math, my father’s ambition for me. The ability to work in a cubicle of ticking clocks and unhappy workers talking to their estranged spouses at their tiny desks during lunch, consuming processed meat.

My favorite book bag, my mother’s first suitcase, my fear of heights, my self-consciousness. My ability to sleep so much, my excuses for not trying harder to transform melancholy into soothing music, a salve of some sort, to help the others.

This entry was posted in General. Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to THE MUSIC OF LOSS

  1. Ron Byrd says:

    It’s lovely.. but even more than that it says something

  2. Myke Todd says:

    Some things, counted as lost, may well have been set aside for safe keeping.

  3. Jon Wesick says:

    Reminds me of this one.


    gather on my table top:
    address labels received along with charities’ unrequited pleas,
    two tickets from last December for a harbor cruise,
    a renewal for fifty-two issues of Science to pile unread on my carpet,
    an old Compaq computer heavy with disappointed software
    from a stillborn project,
    yellowed want ads, a receipt from an old Worker’s Comp check,
    a broken pencil cup from a former lover,
    a collar pin from Nanking with “Remember” written in Chinese,
    and a cell phone with your number still stored.

    If I had ten thousand lives,
    I’d build a cabinet with a billion drawers
    enough to sort and hold each stray paperclip and safety pin.
    I’d write checks to feed the hungry and cure the sick
    until sparks flew from my pen.
    I’d send a rocket to Neptune’s icy moons,
    sequence plasmodium’s DNA, and write my own journal articles.
    I’d fly a boy from Baghdad to the Pacific
    on a magic carpet for a two-hour boat ride,
    but I’d never learn to love you
    the way you deserve.

    This poem appeared in Plain Spoke, Volume 2, Number 3, Fall 2008.

    • Krysia Jopek says:


      I so love this poem!

      We are kindred spirits, for sure!

      Congratulations on your Pushcart nomination for “Tee Time at Aleppo” in our inaugural Spring 2017 issue of DIAPHANOUS!!!!!!!

      Someone commented after we posted your poem on our Diaphanous Press facebook page that they had never seen a poem about a tee time!

      I’m announcing the six nominees now


      thank you for your poem comment

      I love lists of things — long long lists and then get ravenous for action verbs in the next poem.

      all my best,


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *