Awoke suddenly, alone on a sofa late at night

in a den in a house after lights out, panicked:


tumbled every cushion in every shadowy room,

fingered deep into love seat cushions,

opened and shut drawers and closets,

unable to find keys, an old watch, social security card,

billfold, wedding ring, the woman who left me,

what held my eyes staring into oceans;


banged my head on beams in the attic,

shot window wells full of flashlight,

spotted mud daubers, green mold on eaves,

braved the scum of garbage cans, drains,

toilets, bathroom fans, chimneys crusted

with charcoal and bird droppings;


staggered into the yard where the sounds of tree frogs

mix with the questions of those who can’t answer

where they’ve been, why they’ve come back;


scratched under hedges for explanations,

fingernails filled with mud,

inhaled the spoilage of flora, dead leaves.


Slumped against a chain link fence,

out of breath, defeated, complicit,

too calm to dig, too smooth to fight,

I found it was only the need to search

was lost in the search for what was lost.