there’s a few I’ve lost

there’s a few I’ve lost, fallen off in the dark
behind a chest of drawers, under the bed,
gone to the place where socks go

I’ve lost some between meetings
& footpath conversations

some I’ve lost between the ears,
others between the sheets
(though I’m not so worried about those)

some I’ve lost through inattention,
quite a few from laziness

some I’ve sent off to other people,
who’ve probably lost them, or thrown them away

some I’ve lost while talking to a friend
in a bar, between the last wine
& the first whisky

some it’s dishonest to say I lost
when I never had them

some I’ve lost were as precious, I would say,
as a shipload of Athenian black-figure pottery
gone down in a storm north of Samos

others no more valuable than receipts in my pockets
that have gone through the wash

there’s some I regret losing,
some I can’t now remember ever having

but there’s one I’ve lost
which I hope to find

so I can read it again
like I did when I was 13
in front of a classroom of boys
in their grey school uniforms
all sweaty after lunch

the first poem I ever wrote,
the first time I’d been asked.

Published in ‘a fine line’, magazine of the NZ Poetry Society, May 2014


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