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Losing the Keys
by Penelope Moffet

The keys were in my pocket, now they’ve fled.
The cat observes my panic, shuts her eyes.
I ransack cubbyholes inside my head,

attempt to squelch a rising sense of dread,
a fatalistic absence of surprise.
The keys were in my pocket, now they’ve fled.

All I must do is visualize the thread
linking every action since sunrise.
I ransack cubbyholes inside my head,

remember I’ve forgotten things I said
had scorched my soul, would haunt me in some guise.
The keys were in my pocket, now they’ve fled.

All those poems and novels that I’ve read,
lovers whose gifts have failed to make me wise.
I ransack cubbyholes inside my head.

The tool I seek would torch the frowsy bed
on which the dream-twitched cat – and I – abide.
The keys were in my pocket, now they’ve fled.
I ransack cubbyholes inside my head.

IMAGE: “Mona Lisa with the Keys” by Fernand Leger (1930).

moffet in santa monica, 12-2016

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: 
Penelope Moffet
’s poems have been published in The Missouri Review, Columbia, The Broome Review, Permafrost, and other literary journals, as well as in several anthologies. “Losing The Keys” was written in February 2004, the last time she stayed at Dorland Mountain Arts Colony (which burned down in a wildfire in May of that year), when she was experimenting with formal poetry. The keys must have turned up eventually (she doesn’t quite remember), as she was later able to drive home. She has never, of course, lost anything else.