Lost and Found

Vidmantas Goldberg “The Advice” Image used with permission.

It’s good, here with you
you in front
me in back
the dust behind us

You, with your backpack, green and hugging
your sweaty body as we chug
upwards
where even a rock or feather or piece of garbage
finds purchase because I say slow down, hold up, wait
so I can unzip the side pocket and stuff my treasure
or trash
or secret into that space and when I finish
when I store what I think needs keeping
I zip it closed, pat you on the shoulder and say
let’s go

And then, with the end nowhere in sight, I keep walking
and for a long time I wonder why I am here, now
with you, why you

why not someone else
someone else I know

And as I step forward I think about those people

I think about the friend who has stage 4 lung cancer but still knows Joy
And the friend who cooks me stew

I think about the friend who runs a non-profit
And the one who sent me flowers

I think about the friends who have lost their parents
who’d lost their pasts;
histories burned through by mitochondrial heat

I think about the friend who paints gentle landscapes
And the one who paints pain across a clean white sheet

I think about the friend who was once a lover
And the friend whose card never arrived

I think about the friend whose guide dog leads her through gardens in a distant land
And the friend whose daughter became a man

I think about the four friends I have who are doctors
Healing the sick, stemming the tide,
Catching babies with their gloved hands

As a dry wind rises to rinse the sweat from my neck
I think of my friends who work to change laws
And the friends who protect creatures who walk on all fours

I think of my friends who critique my words
And all the others who share their words

I think about the friend who adopted two babies
who have long since grown
And the friend in Peru sowing grief on her own

I think about a friend who shelters the homeless

And another who fixes computers
And another who sells computers

I think of my friend Igor

I think of the two lovelies I met in Mexico
As well as the friend who lives in Reno
And then
while stopping to retie my boots
I remember the friends I’ve had to let go

I think of a friend who works for a dentist
I think of my friend who is a dentist

I think of a friend who lost her two breasts
And the too many friends who have lost friends to death

I think of old friends who have since become new
The poet, the wealth manager, the Microsoft guru

And I think of the cousins who happen to be friends too

I think of my friend who writes stories for kids
And the one who buries the dead without cement lids

I think of the friend who at last found her one true love

Up ahead I see the lake, the sun spitting across its surface
Mayflies, alive for a second, crowding the luminous dermis

As we push ourselves toward the crest of the hill
I think of the friends I’ve never met
I see them I talk to them I write to them, yet
I have no idea how they smell
I’ve never watched them eat
I’ve never seen them walk into the room
I have no idea if they cross their legs while sitting or
If they pick at their cuticles while chatting on Zoom

I think of the many friends who have picked me up
As if I were a carelessly discarded gum wrapper or
a treasure; a pretty stone that is tucked into
the side pocket
zipped shut, safe
worthy enough to carry
like I carry them
once we leave the view from up high
and head back to the car.

22 thoughts on “Lost and Found

  1. Hi.
    It sure would be good having you here.
    I hear that Victor is coming this summer amid other trips.
    Loy will be heading to Santa Cruz.
    And you?!
    Tahoe? Or ?
    xo

    From: Lisa Kusel
    Reply-To: Lisa Kusel
    Date: Wednesday, April 14, 2021 at 10:44 AM
    To: Susan Zlimen
    Subject: [New post] Lost and Found

    lisa_kusel posted: ” It’s good, here with you you in front me in back the dust behind us You, with your backpack, green and hugging your sweaty body as we chug upwards where even a rock or feather or piece of garbage finds purchase because I say slow down, hold “

    Like

  2. Hello, love. How are you? I miss you. Your poetry is really, really, really lovely. I have read Lost and Found three times so far, with more to come. Love it. Are you emerging from this unreal year? S

    >

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m always left wanting more. That’s a good thing, right? Friends who walk naked by tombstones…. Thank you giving we one more gift to add to my treasures.

    Liked by 1 person

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