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I remind…

March 18, 2014

myself daily and this poem below does as well,
That falling in love, should that miracle happen between myself and a reciprocating
Man, is the beginning of more potential heartache.
I know I’m aging. As I drive through neighborhoods, see families walking together, getting the mail, washing cars. I long for the mundane routine that draws people together with interdependence, not codependency, but team work. I look forward to simple meals, leftovers, quiet nights next to one person. To get to know one person so well and they me, that we lose sight of who we thought each the other to be, question sanity, and know we love that crazy person and hope to God they love me back enough to stay through the pain that may come, be each others constancy, more proof of Gods love, answered prayers made flesh, held in gratitude, where pain ripens into joy.

Begin forwarded message:

Guest Editor: Marilyn Nelson, Academy of American Poets Chancellor, March 18, 2014
Losing It
by Margaret Gibson

What little I know, I hold closer,
more dear, especially now
that I take the daily
reinvention of loss as my teacher.
I will never graduate from this college,
whose M.A. translates
“Master of Absence,”
with a subtext in the imperative:
Misplace Anything.
If there’s anything I want, it’s that more
people I love join the search party.
You were once renowned
among friends for your luck
in retrieving from the wayside
the perfect bowl for the kitchen,
or a hand carved deer, a pencil drawn
portrait of a young girl
whose brimming innocence
still makes me ache. Now
the daily litany of common losses
goes like this: Do you have
your wallet, keys, glasses, gloves,
giraffe? Oh dear, I forgot
my giraffe–that’s the preferred
response, but no: it’s usually
the glasses, the gloves, the wallet.
The keys I’ve hidden.
I’ve signed you up for “safe return”
with a medallion (like a diploma)
on a chain about your neck.

Okay, today, this writing,
I’m amused by the art of losing.
I bow to Elizabeth Bishop, I try
“losing faster”–but when I get
frantic, when I’ve lost
my composure, my nerve, my patience,
my compassion, I have only
what little I know
to save me. Here’s what I know:
it’s not absence I fear, but anonymity.
I remember taking a deep breath,
stopped in my tracks. I’d been
looking for an important document
I had myself misplaced;
high and low, no luck yet.
I was “beside myself,”
so there may have indeed been
my double running the search party.
“Stop,” you said gently. “I’ll go
get Margaret. She’ll know where it is.”
“But I’m Margaret,” I wailed.
“No, no.” You held out before me
a copy of one of my books,
pointing to the author’s photograph,
someone serious and composed.
“You know her. Margaret
Gibson, the poet.” We looked
into each others’ eyes a long time.
The earth tilted on its axis,
and what we were looking for,
each other and ourselves,
took the tilt, and we slid into each others’ arms,
holding on for dear life, holding on.

Copyright © 2014 by Margaret Gibson. Used with permission of the author.
About This Poem
“In 2007, my husband David McKain, also a poet and author of a memoir, experienced significant memory loss and was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. ‘Losing It’ is taken from a book of poems, Broken Cup, scheduled for release from Louisiana State University Press in September, 2014. The poems in Broken Cup, bear witness to the experiences of memory loss and of caregiving.”

–Margaret Gibson
Most Recent Book by Gibson

Second Nature: Poems
(Louisiana State University Press, 2010)

Poem-A-Day
Launched during National Poetry Month in 2006, Poem-A-Day features new and previously unpublished poems by contemporary poets on weekdays and classic poems on weekends. Browse the Poem-A-Day Archive.

Margaret Gibson is the author of Second Nature (Louisiana State University Press, 2010). She lives in Preston, Connecticut.
Related Poems
The Transparent Man
by Anthony Hecht
The Visit
by Jason Shinder
Breathing
by Josephine Dickinson
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