Ode to the Lost
by Perry S. Nicholas

I tripped over a flipping heart
on a wooden pier off this small island,
realized at once it wasn’t something
someone missed or might claim.

What to do with it?
It would end up in the lost and found,
and then would be mine to do with
as I pleased anyway, so I took it home.

A heart needs a break from floundering,
so I put it to rest in a jar of sea water
on the mantle where it could take in
its surroundings, contemplate its limited future.

No more Christmases, birthdays, or weddings,
not enough time to fish with a grandchild.
O, who dares hold it close and how tight,
knowing there’s no time to locate its owner?

IMAGE: “The Heart” by Henri Matisse (1943).


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Perry S. Nicholas is a Full English Professor at Erie Community College North in Buffalo, N.Y. He has published one textbook of poetry prompts, three full-length and three chapbooks of original poetry, and one CD of poetry. He has hosted four poetry venues in the Western New York area. See his work at