Random Losses
2000

 

On the subway I find a pair of purple gloves. 

The soiled fingers hold fingerprints; the seams split 

from the plastic face like a family quarrel. 

At the movies I found a wristwatch, 

another in the street, band broken, ticking imperturbable 

timex time; the one in the movies sat intact. Someone

took it off because it chafed, or because a ruined

lover gave the gift.

 

Twice I "lost" my wallet on the street. I mean tossed

from the back of the bike my identity to whomever 

gaining a second chance, like a Christmas gift,

found those money-cases bulky with cash, 

with options to use or not MasterCard,

library card, health-care card; assume my identity,

retrieve my suit from the cleaners and scan

my worksheet in a pair of new blue contact lenses.

    

It brings us close, the handed‑off baton, tickets

for the final game, umbrella, purse, purchases,

wallets, canes, necklaces, children of many

marriages with unusual uncles and aunts. Lose your life

on the subway; when the Jesus freak shouts

the burden returns in another color, another winding cloth;

or comes washable, reclaimable, no name attached, a wondrous

newborn babe armed to signal like a digital chime

timely needs and untimely losses,

and how we find again each other.