Against the Symbolism of Small Losses
So you’ve lost your keys,
your life’s in ruin, over-
turning your simple afternoon.
Maybe it’s the accrual
of all those other losses—
the stolen wallet, a shattered window,
the peach sweater stained
a deep cranberry red—
that’s pushed you over the edge,
made you bleat your woe is me
to every neighbor.
What about your house? Intact.
The car: parked exquisitely
at your pleasant curbside.
Your dog: wagging a doggy tail.
But maybe you’re thinking
in bigger terms, one loss leading
to all the others, first cousins
to the final disappearance
of everything you love.
Frankly, today, it’s only made you
late for the movies, where your wife
has already found two seats together,
her head finding your easy shoulder
while a river of credits rolls along
and the music rises,
and the ticket stubs in your hand—
in spite of everything you know—
feel like crisp hundred dollar bills.
I’m drowning. My own sad thoughts are pulling me under
to the airless world. I wish you were here to shine light
onto the darkness. To fill my lungs with your air. To
untangle me from the seaweed and tell me everything’s
going to be okay. But you’re not. My awkwardness was
too much. I let my heart off its leash and it became putty
in your hands. But you had better things to do and left it
dangling on a rusty old nail. It hangs there, deflated. I
can’t love so I swallow water to fill the emptiness. I’ve
lost the battle. Have no more fight left in me. As I touch
rock bottom, a spark ignites my soul. “Don’t give up” the
thought swims through me. I push myself through the
pain and reach life support at the top. If I don’t have
the strength to survive, who else will? I need to grow
wings and fly on my own. Fly over all of my mistakes
and pick up the pieces of my heart that were left behind.
I was drowning. My own sad thoughts were pulling me
under to the airless world. But I would rather be a blue
jay in the sky than a dead fish in the water.
~ Frank DiLuzio