The Place of Lost Things

May 1, 2010
By Emma.FiskeDobell SILVER, Brooklyn, New York
Emma.FiskeDobell SILVER, Brooklyn, New York
5 articles 0 photos 0 comments

Cross two streets and an avenue, walk down the alley on the right and out into the place where there are no houses. These are abandoned streets, but you will be able to see the water. Walk for a long time, and when you are ready to turn back, you will see the place of lost things. A garbage dump, heaped with lost sweaters and teeth, old love and broken toys. The gate is falling off it's hinges, the flowers are withered and dead. Open this gate, careful not to cut your feet on the glass littering the sidewalk. You will sigh, thinking that you have a long way ahead of you, a lot of looking to do. And you will begin, rummaging through piles that tower over your head. If you look long enough, you will find that pink cashmere cardigan with the three-quarter sleeves. You will find your eyesight, your waistline, a hair ribbon, a soda can you made into a candle holder in the fourth grade. If you look hard enough, sorting through piles, throwing lost things behind you, you will come across yourself. It will be a little dirty, with a tear in the sleeve, a stain on the front. But if you take it home, and scrub it with soap and water, you will be able to get this stain out.

By this time, the sunlight will be fading, touching the golden hair at the back of your head and lighting you like an angel, and you will know that it is time to go. You will take your lost self home, carefully closing the gate behind you, and walk all the way back. You will see a barge chugging by in the harbor, and a dandelion in the crack of an abandoned street. You might lose your way, and it is back in the place of lost things, too. But don't turn back: keep walking until you find that a new way was only a few steps behind you.

Soon enough, when the sun is waning down over the river, you will reach home. Hang up your lost self on a closet door, and look at it for a while. Climb into bed, and rest your aching feet. Look at that lost self in the fading light, and then in near darkness. You will bleach it, soak it, dry it in a towel. It looks a little different than before, and you do not try it on for fear that it will not fit. Did you take the wrong self by accident?

And then, one day, you will open the curtains and let the naked light into the room, and you will try yourself on again.

The author's comments:
I was writing a poem about things I had lost, and I thought it was an interesting concept to think of lost items like teeth and clothing as being in the same category as a lost self. Many young people feel they have lost their identities at one time or another, and I wanted to explore the idea of going back into one's past and finding one's self again: a little different, a little worn, but overall the same person - just more grown.

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