What Was Lost

Let’s not go back. There are no pictures.
There is no film footage of me
in K-State’s purple & white skirt.
Stop going to the library to search me out.
Where’s a picture for you? We didn’t
take pictures easily back then. I didn’t
document your absenteeism either. Why?
Why do you look for the child you dropped
like a dog in Moore Hall’s parking lot?
Too cowardly to look back? I carried
crates and suitcases inside all by myself
while you drove home to numbly pick
dandelions out from your green lawn.
You want to unearth a picture of me
smiling in matte, somewhere in time,
to hang on your wall as if you were there,
as if the sky never fell on the day
little brother cried from the back
seat, waving the longest two-year goodbye?
You can’t recover any of what was lost &
even if you do find a grainy old picture,
you’ve gotta know that old pictures are liars.

for Real Toads


13 thoughts on “What Was Lost

  1. Strong diatribic (word?) description. Fitting. Images (photos) as images. And they lie. Cynicism isn’t a bad quality, especially when it’s used openly in an illuminating way. This verse is impressive, wonderfully worded, cynical, and wise. There’s power at work here.

  2. I can feel the emotions here, can see that little boy waving from the back seat…..the little girl staunchly carrying boxes in all by herself. Love the refusal of photos to the one who wasnt there. So appropriate.

  3. This verse letter is tidily and tightly wrought, wrapped abound an old wound as the bandage one had to cobble on their own. Exposing the pain when a failed other tries to tear it free. Well done!

  4. The feelings of emptiness coupled with anger when one is abandoned with a kid brother to look after. This is a poignant picture all too often when adults think more of their emotions than the welfare of the kids! Beautiful lines but sad.


  5. This is intriguing, painting a strong picture with some questions unanswered, leaving me wondering a bit. I can relate, or maybe not. Interesting.

    1. My father. A manic depressive. Plopped me in my college parking lot as a freshman. His feelings were always tantamount to anyone else’s. For sure, he missed me. For sure he was never there, emotionally or otherwise. Now, he wants a picture of the college girl he missed. That’s all.

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