What I Found When I Lost My Earring
By Joan Leotta

Settling into my window seat
after running to catch my connection,
at Atlanta-Hartsfield,
I reached up remove my earrings.
Left ear’s shiny metal clip-on daisy
easily slid into my hand.
Reaching for its twin, however
my fingers found a bare lobe.
Immediately I realized the
probable moment of loss–
when I hastily slung the
wide-strapped bag at my feet,
hard over my shoulder as
I ran for that connecting gate.
Likely the strap brushed my
floral clip-on off
away from the garden of my ear.
I fretted over the loss on the flight,
upset in disproportion to that
daisy’s dollar cost.
While at my destination.
a recurring dream roiled
my sleep, bringing up a memory
—how, against advice
I had foolishly worn and lost,
my mom’s aquamarine ring,
that her father had made for
her upon her graduation.
In the dream, once again
she said it was “all right.”
But I could still see
and sense her sadness
in across the plain of death in my dream.
Was this why I now mourned
loss of a shiny metal clip-on, a
thrift shop bauble bought for a dollar?
Determined to find redemption at
Least from this loss, on my way home
I stopped at the Delta Lost and Found.
I described my lost item
to the blue uniformed- woman.
She checked her list .
“No , no one turned it in.”
I sighed and said.
“Guess I should know
better than to wear something I like
when traveling.”
She reached over the counter,
clasped my hand.
“Remember this,
things are just things
If you like something wear it;
enjoy it while you have it.
Do not blame yourself
for what you cannot control.
Things are made to be used.”
That very night
I dreamt again of my mother.
She was smiling at me. On her right hand
She wore her aquamarine ring.
In her left, she held my lost daisy clip-on.

AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION: The photo is from about two years ago, which is when I lost the earring on a flight to visit my daughter (from Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, to Washington, DC).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: The topic resonated with me on many levels—humor, loosing keys and phone; then the more serious of loosing checkbook and my Mom’s ring and that silly little earring. Truly, what the woman at Delta Lost and Found said, was life-changing. Things are only things–always a good theme, but also the idea that we should not be made to feel guilty (even and perhaps especially when we are heaping the guilt upon ourselves!) for using these things. They are meant to be used—and if something happens, so be it! My Mom knew that and although she was sad about the ring, she never scolded me or punished me over the loss. And here I was beating myself up over the loss of a “meaningless” earring. Yep, I sometimes think that woman was an angel sent to release me and all women from unnecessary guilt.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Joan Leotta has been playing with words on page and stage since childhood in Pittsburgh. She is a writer and story performer. Her poetry and essays appear or are forthcoming in Gnarled Oak, the A-3 Review, Hobart Literary Review, Silver Birch, Peacock,Postcard Poems and Prose among others. Her first poetry chapbook, Languid Lusciousness with Lemon, was just released by Finishing Line Press. She also has written a series of novels, Legacy of Honor, and a set of four picture books, Rosa’s Shell is the latest. A group of her short stories, Simply a Smile is available in paper and on Kindle. You can find more about her work on her blog at joanleotta.wordpress.com, follow her on twitter @beachwriter12 or on Facebook at Joan Leotta, Author and Story Performer.