Archives for category: LOST & FOUND

Thank you to the 114 writers — from 26 states and 12 countries — who participated in our LOST AND FOUND Poetry & Prose Series, which ran from March 6  to May 5, 2017. Many thanks to the following authors for their intriguing, compelling work!

Paul Andrews (Canada)
Jeanie Axon (Australia)
Daisy Bala (Illinois)
Charlotte Barnes (England)
Nicholas Batdorf (Pennsylvania)
Roberta Beary (Maryland)
Nina Bennett (Deleware)
Shelly Blankman (Maryland)
Amanda Bonnick (England)
Katley Demetria Brown (Massachusetts)
Gary Campanella (California)
John Carney (Pennsylvania)
Lucia Cherciu (New York)
Tricia Marcella Cimera (Illinois)
Wanda Morrow Clevenger (Illinois)
Marion Deutsche Cohen (Pennsylvania)
Joan Colby (Illinois)
Clive Collins (Japan)
Jackie Craven (New York)
Neil Creighton (Australia)
Isobel Cunningham (Canada)
Karen Eastlund (New Jersey)
Katherine Edgren (Michigan)
Jessica Edler (Florida)
Barbara Eknoian (California)
Kristina England (Massachusetts)
Ellen Evans (Rhode Island)
Judson Evans (Massachusetts)
j.a. farina (Canada)
Rhys Feeney (New Zealand)
Vern and Ilyse Fein (Illinois)
Jennifer Finstrom (Illinois)
Laura Foley (Vermont)
Vincent Francone (Illinois)
Martina R. Gallegos (California)
Lourdes A. Gautier (New Jersey)
Susan W. Goldstein (Florida)
Vince Gotera (Iowa)
VIjaya Gowrisankar (India)
Ananya Guha (India)
Tina Hacker (Kansas)
Oz Hardwick (England)
Richard Harries (England)
Brenda Davis Harsham (Massachusetts)
Penny Harter (New Jersey)
Jennifer Hernandez (Minnesota)
Udo Hintze (Texas)
Nurit Israeli (New York)
Mathias Jansson (Sweden)
Elizabeth Kerper (Illinois)
Steve Klepetar (Minnesota)
Tricia Knoll (Oregon)
Laurie Kolp (Texas)
Judy Kronenfeld (California)
Jennifer Lagier (California)
Kathleen A. Lawrence (New York)
Yvonne Higgins Leach (Washington)
Joan Leotta (North Carolina)
Stephen S. Lottridge (Wyoming)
Virginia Lowe (Australia)
Rick Lupert (California)
Aimee Mackovic (Texas)
Marjorie Maddox (Pennsylvania)
Anu Mahadev (New Jersey)
Betsy Mars (California)
Lindsey Martin-Bowen (Missouri)
Danielle Matthews (England)
Mary McCarthy (Florida)
Catfish McDaris (Wisconsin)
Linda McKenney (New York)
Terri Miller-Carrara (Florida)
Michael Minassian (North Carolina)
Penelope Moffet (California)
Cord Moreski (New Jersey)
Alice Morris (Delaware)
Leah Mueller (Washington)
Connor Mura (New York)
Eileen Murphy (Florida)
Kathleen Naureckas (Illinois)
Maria Nestorides (Cyprus)
Perry S. Nicholas (New York)
Kirsty A. Niven (Scotland)
Cristina M.R. Norcross (Wisconsin)
Kathryn Olsen (Utah)
Annasofia Padua (Florida)
Sunayna Pal (Connecticut)
Erin K. Parker (California)
Lee Parpart (Canada)
Will Pennington (Maryland)
Dustin Pickering (Texas)
Tania Pryputniewicz (California)
Patrick T. Reardon (Illinois)
Luisa Kay Reyes (Alabama)
Susanna Rich (New Jersey)
Jeannie E. Roberts (Wisconsin)
Kerfe Roig (New York)
Diana Rosen (California)
Roslyn Ross (Australia)
Alexis Rotella (Maryland)
Pallabi Roy (India)
Sarah Russell (Pennsylvania)
Sunil Sharma (India)
Leslie Sittner (New York)
Sally Toner (Virginia)
Vincent Van Ross (India)
Sylvia Riojas Vaughn (Texas)
Alan Walowitz (New York)
Michelle Walshe (Ireland)
Courtney Watson (Virginia)
A. Garnett Weiss (Canada)
Lynn White (Wales)
Robert Whiteley (Canada)
Lisa Wiley (New York)

Please check out our current call for submissions:

MY FIRST JOB Poetry & Prose Series (May 31, 2017 deadline)

famous five1
Where is that Credit Card?
by Richard Harries

Was going to Malta for a month
My wallet bulged
With cards not cash
No need to take so my credit card
My wife normally carries the cash
So put it away in a safe place
Did not want to lose
This card
Abroad, making my life complex

On my return
I had to think
Where my safe place was
Had no idea!
The card was lost
My credit card’s loss was a big worry
Where could it be?
Looked in my desk,not there
Drawers, even under the rugs

This carried on for weeks
Greatly inconveniencing me
Looked in the daftest of places
The bread bin
The shed,the summerhouse
Why would I put it there?
Gave up it was lost to me
Had to be canceled
Needed replacing at once

One day was depressed
Feeling low indeed
Now when I am so sad
I reach for Enid Blyton
And disappear into my childhood memories
Works for me
I picked up a Famous Five
As I picked it up it swung open
And showered me with cards
Oh THAT’S where my safe place was!
Yes I remember putting it there now
A very safe place
No burglar would look there
And I had doubted they would nab the book
So the lost card was returned
Safe and sound to me

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: This event happened about three years ago when I was 62.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Richard Harries is a performance poet and usually appears all over Yorkshire, U.K . — performing regularly at festivals including Cornucopia and Hull’s Freedom Festival . He will be seen on Hull’s City of Culture website in the MEET THE ARTIST series. He has had over 70,000 youtube hits and his channel is RCPOEMS channel.

Martin-Bowen II Carrie Great Grandma
Lost: Great-Grandma’s Pearl Earring (Six Tankas)
by Lindsey Martin-Bowen

We jumped and plié-ed
outside the student center
on a cold day in
mid-December just before
Christmas Break my freshman year.

The pearls were real—not
cultured, Dad said and gave me
Great-grandma’s earrings.
The gold, 18 karat, its
posts skewered, not like today’s

cheap, slippery ones
molded from aluminum.
And yet, the post stripped,
slipped from my lobe to brown grass
in the lawn by the stone wall.

Gone, forever, like
Great-grandma and now, Father—
lost in onyx nights
that clutch me in their shadows
blinding me from spotting a

pearl hiding within
soil too gritty to unearth
when I need to keep
my hands immaculate, nails
pristine to finish my work.

I never found it—
that earring. I buried its
mate in my purse till
I moved it to a box with
photos of Dad and Nana.

AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION: My Great-Grandmother Carrie near age 80.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: Silver Birch Press’s prompt inspired me to write this poem about this irretrievable loss I incurred when I was 18 and a college freshman. Great-grandmother Carrie was long gone, but I remembered her often. Her pearl earrings brought her to mind each morning when I looked into the mirror.  To help keep the poem less sentimental (I hope), I wrote this using six tankas: each five-line poems with five-seven-five-seven-seven syllabic counts—and a turn in the last two lines. Perhaps writing this poem is the “found” aspect.

Martin-Bowen I

Lindsey Martin-Bowen
’s third collection CROSSING KANSAS with Jim Morrison (in chapbook form) was a semi-finalist in the QuillsEdge Press 2015-2016 Chapbook Contest. In 2016, Writer’s Digest gave her poem “Vegetable Linguistics” an Honorable Mention in its Eighty-Fifth Annual Contest (Non-rhyming Poetry Category). Her Inside Virgil’s Garage (Chatter House) was a runner-up in the 2015 Nelson Poetry Book Award. McClatchy Newspapers named her Standing on the Edge of the World (Woodley Press) one of the Ten Top Poetry Books of 2008. Her poems have appeared in New Letters, I-70 Review, Thorny Locust, Amethyst Arsenic, Silver Birch Press, Tittynope Zine, Bare Root Review, Coal City Review, Flint Hills Review, The Same, Rockhurst Review, 11 anthologies, and other magazines. She taught at UMKC 18 years and teaches at MCC-Longview. Visit her on Facebook.

See-saw of emotions
by Vijaya Gowrisankar

The lunch bell gong! We gobbled our lunch
and ran down from the first floor to the
playground, as fast as we could

Our small legs, all of seven years, was ready
for exercise, as we decided to play catch-catch
After ten minutes, we huffed and puffed

We stood holding our stomach, to catch our breath
My classmate looked at me and asked “Where is
your other earring?” I looked at her, blank

She pointed to my left ear. I realized that my
earring was missing. My first expensive present,
the loops of gold, I had received on my birthday

last week. My mother’s words rang in my ear
“Be careful, and touch your ear often to ensure
your earring is there”. Twin tears, big ones

rolled down my cheeks. My friends consoled me
and we started our search. I had checked my ears
before I had come to play. We searched between

the grass, for the vast expanse where we had
run. Each friend in a different direction. Dejected,
we quit our search as our school bell rang.

What would I tell my mother? my mind wondered
Preoccupied, I followed my friend who pulled me along
As I reached the classroom door, a friend ran out

“Look, your ring!” she said. “I found it lying next
to the door.” All my friends circled me and hugged

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: This poem is my first memory of losing something precious and the feeling of loss. The memory is sweetened by the joy in finding the lost item.

gowrisankar1 (1)

Vijaya Gowrisankar
 released three books of poems, Explore, Reflectand Inspire, all of which are bestsellers. Her submissions have been published in Silver Birch Press, Nancy Drew Anthology, Poetry Marathon 2016 Anthology, Sometimes Anyway: Pride in Poetry Volume II, Forwardian, Triadae Magazine, iWrite India, Dystenium Online, and Taj Mahal Review anthologies. She has appeared as guest speaker in colleges. A participant in the Poetry Marathon 2016 (24 poems in 24 hours, 1 poem per hour), she has reviewed and edited poetry and fiction books. She participated in NaNoWriMo 2016 and completed her first novel in November 2016. She is working on a fourth book. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter.

cabbage patch
Her Favorite Doll
by Nurit Israeli

I sort through a lifetime
of belongings – getting ready
to let go of the house,
when in a trunk filled with old toys,
I spot the Cabbage Patch doll.

The Cabbage Patch doll
that was my daughter’s favorite,
that was greeted with glee long ago,
that was once doted upon,
still looks the same.

She hasn’t been out
in years, but still wears
the peach-colored dress
she wore on their outings.
It matches her red braided hair.

She is still soft,
and her chubby-cheeked face
remains rosy, but her blue-painted
eyes seem tinged with sadness.
Does she somehow know?

My grandsons will take
the Lego bricks and the trucks.
They will overlook
the once-special doll
their mother loved best.

I know and, in a room where
echoes of children’s voices
ricochet off photo-covered walls,
I hold for one last time
a doll that bears witness.

I let the memories linger,
as I let go of the doll
that was my daughter’s favorite.
She still looks the same.
It’s only we who have changed.

IMAGE: The Cabbage Patch doll

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I am preparing to move out of a home where I have lived with my family for over 40 years — the home where my children grew up and where their children love to be. As I sort through a lifetime of belongings, I discover items I haven’t seen in years, items that bear witness to my story.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Nurit Israeli, a psychologist who writes poems, holds a doctorate in psychology from Columbia University. Nurit has published poems in international poetry anthologies, the New York Times, Writer’s Digest, and other online and print magazines. Several of her poems won awards in writing challenge competitions.

The Clock Key
by Yvonne Higgins Leach

First it was Dad. Then Mom
passed. We divided up their possessions
diplomatically among the five of us.
Among them, two antique, wind-up wall clocks,
and a nine-foot tall Hamilton Grandfather from Pennsylvania.
Years later, my sister finds
a small brass key
in a tattered, two-inch, yellow envelope
in my mother’s jewelry box.
In cursive, my mother wrote: Clock Key.
So my sister makes the rounds with it,
an excuse for a visit,
but none of us want to try it
because we like that somehow
our clocks keep ticking ahead, regardless.

SOURCE: “The Clock Key” first appeared in Common Ground Review.

IMAGE: “Clock with a Blue Wing” by Marc Chagall (1949).

Higgins Leach

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: After both our parents died, we divided up their possessions among the five of us siblings. Three of us ended up with clocks but without the keys to keep rewinding them. The strange thing was our clocks kept ticking regardless. My sister found a key by accident years later and made visits to those of us with the clocks to see if the key fit. Each of us was hesitant to try the key being enthralled by the current “magic” that was occurring.

AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION: This is the five of us siblings at a ceremony honoring our mother in Spokane, Washington, in July 2014. From left to right: Tim, Dan, Maureen — who found the key — Curran, and me (Yvonne).


Yvonne Higgins Leach
is the author of Another Autumn (WordTech Editions, 2014). Her poems have appeared in many journals and anthologies. A native of Washington state, she earned a Master of Fine Arts from Eastern Washington University. She spent decades balancing a career in communications and public relations, raising a family, and pursuing her love of writing poetry. Now a full-time poet, she splits her time living on Vashon Island and in Spokane, Washington. For more information, visit

third reich book

by Courtney Watson

inside cover1

It was the first estate sale of the year, an event of note in my sleepy corner of Virginia. The house was unremarkable except for the master bedroom, which had been converted into a library. The former owners, deceased, had been history buffs, and resting at eye level was a copy of Rise and Fall of the Third Reich — a book described as an account of the nightmare empire built by Hitler. When I opened the front cover, I discovered a Christmas tag taped over a map of Axis-occupied territories with yellowed Santa Claus stickers. Written in blue over the Atlantic Ocean, a sweep of ink brushing against the golden Reichsadler, was merrily inscribed “To Auddy With Love, Mabel 12-25-60.”

The 1200+ page book was well-read, with sentences underlined in green and purple. There was urgency in the arrows and questions and comments in the margins, with special attention paid to Karl Adolf Eichmann, architect of the Holocaust. Auddy commented on every mention of Eichmann, and such was his obsession that he left a bit of treasure for me to find 50 years later. Taped to the final page of the book was a fat yellowed envelope adhered with cracking brown tape labeled “Adolf Eichmann’s Death” in capital letters. In it was the end of the story, a folded page of newspaper detailing Eichmann’s capture in Argentina and subsequent execution on the gallows of Tel Aviv’s Ramleh prison, the first in Israeli history. I like to imagine that Mabel read the article before Auddy, and saved it for him.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I love stories that we tell ourselves about ourselves and learning about who people are—who they truly are—through their possessions. I’m deeply interested in marginalia and the story it tells, which is why I’m always on the lookout for books wherein the reader has visibly interacted with a piece of text; there is something fascinating, to me, about that conversation.

Courtney Watson1

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Courtney Watson is a writer and college professor in Roanoke, Virginia, where she directs the Humanities & Social Sciences program at Jefferson College of Health Sciences. Her writing has been published in Long Story, Short, The Virginia Quarterly Review, Boston Literary Magazine, 100 Word Story, and more. She is co-founder and co-editor of Rum Punch Press.

my babies Mar 26 17
More than Words
by Ellen Evans

As victims of abuse, whether physical, emotional, or sexual—the word “target” must be branded onto our foreheads, so that only aggressors can see. During a lifetime of this damage, what held me together, bolstered and encouraged me in life was my poetry. Already from high school forward, I have signed and dated every piece, making them a journal, of sorts. And I always title them. In a way, they feel like my children, and every child must have a name.

My last encounter with abuse, encompassing every possible kind, was putting me in growing mortal danger with each passing day. With no possible access to assistance or shelters, one day, I saw the shot, and took it—just me and my car. Oh, and his cell phone (with all his numbers) and his only house key, both given to me to run an errand that called for him to rise before noon.

He was so humiliated in front of others in the ‘hood where we were living, he destroyed everything I had left behind. From my whole lifetime. I consoled myself with the fact that I was alive. The rest was just stuff. But from all that stuff, the most painful loss was my poetry. I actually grieved for it. My children, stolen. As I healed, I began rewriting the ones I could remember, albeit with current feelings written into them—kind of like the age-progressed photos of lost children on milk cartons.

Then, a few years later, they gradually began finding their way home. A folder my mom had kept, here. A binder I had given to my grandmother, there. Just last week, a mailer— a memory from a friend some forty years ago. The homecoming has been remarkable, indeed.

AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION: “My babies” (3/26/2017).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: Through all my wild, crazy, and, at times, dangerous life, my poetry has been the one constant. I could always count on it. So, when it all became lost to me, I felt orphaned. Writing this now, has been just the right time to tie it all together.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Ellen Evans lived in Israel for the 12 years prior to the first Gulf War. While there, two of her poems were translated into Hebrew, and appeared embedded in a novel. She recently has had two poems chosen for the online journal Wild Women’s Medicine Circle, and she has had six poems chosen for an anthology put out by a poetry blog site. In addition, she has had two poems chosen for the chapbook Porcupine, published by Lost Sparrow Press. She currently resides in Providence Rhode Island, where she is working on a chapbook of poems about migraines, written during migraines. The neurologist treating her has used some of the poems in a lecture.


Bad Karma
by Linda McKenney

The rocky outcrop known as Meads Wall was used for the emotionally charged scene in The Two Towers where Frodo and Sam capture Gollum.

We’re driving through Wakapapa Ski Fields. I’m reading from The Lord of the Rings location guidebook, indicating movie set locations around New Zealand.

As we ascend Pinnacle Ridge, it’s difficult to pinpoint the exact location, as the weather is overcast, with low-lying clouds. We come to a section of rock that feels like the right spot. I get out to explore, fighting the chill of windy dampness. Walking, I kick a stone about the size of a baseball. It looks like a lump of coal. I put it in my pocket.

We’re packing to return home. My conservative husband notices the rock.

“What are you doing with that?”

“I’m keeping it as a souvenir.”

“You know that there are prohibited exports?”

“I read the list and rocks are not specifically listed.”

Though when we go through customs, I’m a bit anxious, about being arrested.

Back home, I show off the rock to my grandchildren, exaggerating about smuggling it out of the country.   “I might have been arrested!” They are fascinated by my boldness.

One day, as I’m dusting, I realize the rock’s missing from its home next to the framed print of Gandalf riding into Hobbiton. Remembering that I’d stowed it away for a visit from my two-year-old grandson, I think I’ve just neglected to put it back. I search every possible hiding place. No luck.

I gather my grandchildren together.

“My New Zealand rock is missing. Do any of you know where it is?”

They profess surprise and concern. One offers, “Well, you stole that rock, maybe it’s bad karma.”

They all assure me that they have no idea where the rock is.

Neither do I.

IMAGE: The Putangirua Pinnacles track, Aorangi Forest Park (Lord of the Rings location, New Zealand). (

mckenney - Hobbit museum

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Linda McKenney is a Personal Life Coach, Motivational Speaker, and Writer, specializing in Mindful Living and Eating. She continually reinvents herself, and her new adventure is writing creative nonfiction. Her most recent work is published in Behind the Podium, Silver Birch Press, 101 Word Short Stories, and The Survivor’s Review. You can join Linda on her Mindful journey by visiting her blog –- She also has an alter ego at

AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION: I’m at the entrance to the Lord of the Rings Museum, made to look like a Hobbit doorway. I was very disappointed that the set of Hobbiton was closed. I still have to explore the south island of New Zealand and perhaps find another rock.

pal 1
The blue sock
by Sunayna Pal

4 months and 23 days
after my son’s birth
I lost his blue sock.
We had 3 pairs of socks.
He wore one pair for 2 days.
Missing a sock meant
the schedule would go for a toss.
Why did it have to be the blue one?
It went with everything my son wore.

Websites told me
that kids lose their socks often
And a mother shouldn’t fret about it.
It wasn’t he who had lost it though.
It was my laundry blunder.
I started to worry
and pull my hair apart.
I searched everywhere.
Even in places that I didn’t expect.
Even in places I hadn’t been in for months.
I searched EVERYWHERE.
I made my husband search,
I made my mother search.
I even asked the baby.

I felt like a failure
as a mom.
How was I to take care of my baby
If I couldn’t even keep a track of 3 pairs of socks.
How was I to take care of a whole baby.
Despair creeped in,
In my every moment.
Prayers didn’t seem to help.
I felt defeated.

After a week full of search,
I finally gave up.
Full of anxiety,
on laundry day,
I collected the clothes in a hamper.
I took a deep breath
Before I changed my baby’s clothes
I found the sock.
It was inside a footsie.
I had checked the clothes
But not the inside of each.

I couldn’t believe it.
Was it the one sock I already had?
I checked.
I sighed deeply with joy
As I looked at the pair.
Maybe I would be fine.
Maybe I will survive motherhood.
Maybe it will be fine, after all.

IMAGE: The author with her infant son.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: In India, there are neighbors and relatives who help you take care of yourself and your newborn. America didn’t give me this luxury. Though my mom was here to help me for a few weeks, I, a pampered girl, found it very difficult to take care of everything alone. Losing the sock did cause a lot of anxiety. It is over a year since that incident and I have calmed down as a mother and grown more confident with time . . . but I remember feeling really happy when I found the sock. I can proudly say – in 15  months and we haven’t lost any socks.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Born and raised in Mumbai, India, Sunayna Pal moved to the U.S. after her marriage. She has PG degrees from XLRI and Annamalai University, and worked in the corporate world for five odd years before braking the chains to embark on her heart’s pursuits. She started “Art with Sunayna” ( to teach and sell art for NGOs and became a certified handwriting analyst ( to help people better understand themselves by using a mix of graphotherapy, healing, and affirmations. A new mother, Sunayna also loves gardening and photography, and enjoys writing from her daily life experiences. Many of her articles have been published in magazines and on websites. She is a proud contributor to many international anthologies. In her little spare time, she also maintains a blog at She is currently working on an anthology of 51 stories about people who are of South Asian origin and have an experience to share about the U.S..