I rarely lose the small stuff

like the receipt for the shirt that didn’t fit

or the small gold earrings, a gift from my sister.

Every gray sock has a mate,

and my keys reside in the side pocket of my purse.

What I lose is the big stuff

like my hair

and my innocence.

I’ve lost a husband 

and misplaced my trust.

Dads have gone missing

and names forgotten.

Opportunities were misplaced

and friendships vanished.

I’ve learned that it is best

to let go of big losses– 

Their memories: an unreliable witness

to theories and guesses.

Their causes: unpredictable,

random, and arbitrary. 

Instead, I catalog and index the small stuff

the water bottle, 

login passwords, 

garden gloves…

each, a point on a grid, 

coordinates on my lifeline.

A response poem to “Chances Are” by Rebecca Kai Dotlich.

2 thoughts on “Lifeline

  1. The small things seem easier to control, wrap the mind around, check regularly. The big stuff…well we can drown in that. This is a profound piece of writing that will stay with me.


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