“Lost Things” by Lina Patel

Lina Patel (age 12)


We lose things all the time
socks in the laundry
library books
the grocery list
a stuffed animal
or even we lose
our senses
our temper
our minds
our heads
our hearts
our faith
But my question is
Where do those lost things go?
Does some magical force whisk them away
into a land of cake and candy?
Do future life forms transport them to another planet
with all the technology we haven’t begun to discover?
Do they float into the clouds
visiting raindrops, twirling with snow?
Does a dragon with leathery wings and breath of fire
flap down to snatch them up with wide red jaws?
Do they just disappear?
Do we allow them to leave
through some subconscious decision?
Do they creep away themselves
stalking silently away from their owner?
Who, in the meantime
has looked everywhere
has just about had it
has to think of a better way
to find it
We sometimes get lost
misread the map
forget the directions
make a wrong turn
When that happens,
who has misplaced us?
who is our owner?
when will we be returned?
What happens
when lost things get forgotten?
left behind?
Are they
still lost?
What happens
when you don’t know something is lost?
and you’re not worried?
not searching?
Is it
still lost?
if the lost thing is a part of you
you may never really get it back
My favorite part of losing things
is finding them again
after the long, deliberate hunt
and the search seems worthwhile
We finally discover their hidden location
like buried treasure
Sometimes the hidden home of what’s missing
is hardly hidden after all
is really right in front of you
is somewhere that makes you say
Of course.
Why didn’t I think of that before?”
Sometimes it takes only a little while to find lost things
sometimes it takes weeks
And you remember, after all the time
you remember losing it
you remember what it meant
you remember how you felt
like a dream
And you grasp it in your hand
and press it to your heart
and put it back where it belongs

from 2014 Rattle Young Poets Anthology


Why do you like to write poetry?

Lina Patel: “When I write poetry, I always think of what E.B. White said in the beginning of Stuart Little, ‘I wrote this story for the children and to please myself.’ And that’s how it feels to write poetry for me, too.”

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