on a news report from Realengo, Brazil (2013)
After their father died, the Almeida children
went home to clean. Leonel was a hoarder,
radios stacked on newspaper columns,
parlor with a dozen end tables. The children
took turns carrying boxes to the lawn.
In the final box was Manuela,
their old red-footed tortoise. They thought
he’d escaped thirty years ago in 1982,
when workers tore up the kitchen,
but he was just lost inside, trapped
within the hoard, surviving on termites.
As children, what else do we lose that stays?
What keeps itself hidden, lofting in our minds,
compartmentalizing old parts that we cover
and fold into the rest? Maybe, for you,
it’s all those memories you forgot
or ignored, and the red-footed tortoise
of your childhood is still there somewhere,
waiting for some grief-stick
to beat you into carrying what’s left
onto the lawn, for the neighbors to parse,
rummaging through all your pieces.
"Lost and Found" first appeared on ctpoetry.net.
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