Archives for category: LOST & FOUND

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Acceptance
by Jessica Edler

There she was, dark hair, hazel eyes, and wrinkle lines
She stared at me with tears cascading,
Confidence fading.

I watched as she told me of the turbulence of life,
her eyes full of hope and heroes,
Dreaming happiness.

I stared at her unknowing, comfort almost foreign
She dropped her eyes in shame,
Perfection deceiving.

Wavering back and forth on the balls of her feet,
She judged me fiercely with eyes of ice,
Nervous competition.

Broken and beaten through the years, mental torment
She covered her body as her eyes closed,
Conjuring Bravery.

Lifting her face, breathing deep, she reaches out a hand,
Eyes steady and focused on mine,
Knowing truth.

I raise my fingers to meet her own, skin on glass
Her eyes are mine, a staring contest.
Unwavering acknowledgment.

Air leaves our lungs, forgiveness of self in a moment,
Wipe tears from tired eyes, for truth of self lies ahead,
Eventual Acceptance

IMAGE: “Mirror” by Koshiro Onchi (1930).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: This poem was simply about finding myself in a mirror. The moment of getting out of the shower and going through the process of analyzing one’s self lost a long time. It is hard to find that person, that “you” in life. When you accept you, as you are, the tears stop and you kind of awaken. This poem was recent, and I have only found myself in that small time frame. Slowly I step into my own body again and accept the changes it continues to go through.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Jessica Edler is a writer, photographer, and dreamer. With two beautiful children keeping her on her toes and a husband whose love knows no end, she finds herself trying to balance the chaos of life with writing her novels and children’s books. A lover of chocolate, cookies, and all things sugary, she dreams big and sets sometimes unattainable goals for herself like simultaneously writing six books, and eating lots of cookies. She and Edgar Allen Poe would have been very good friends if the timelines matched up, and, absurdly enough, she prefers to write with a pen because scratching out a mistake is more gratifying than erasing it. Her books are available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble, and you can find her at the Tampa Bay ComicCon on July 29, 2017 speaking on creativity and writing!  Find some writing challenges, prompts, updates and such  at jessicaedler.com.

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Misplaced Keys
by Kaki Olsen

A lot of things were “lost in the move” when my family relocated from Oregon to Massachusetts. Some books never made it into a box and Dad accidentally left my hamster in a hot car in West Virginia.

We were bereft of other things in the process. My sister sold off my favorite stuffed animal when I missed one of our yard sales. We had to sell our antique train seats. Because we had no room for it, my mother left the piano that she had grown up with in the care of friends.

Nearly two decades later, those same friends announced that they were moving and wanted to know if my mother would like to reclaim her old piano. She still had no room for another piano and she impulsively blurted out, “but my daughter would probably love to have it.”

And so it was that the piano was professionally moved from a living room in Oregon to a cramped student apartment in Utah. It was at least five feet tall, weighed 600 pounds, and had no decorations other than a gold-leaf “Steinway and Sons” on the music stand. As soon as the mover cleared out, I sat with reverence at the 1918 Model K piano and played my favorite Beethoven.

A few weeks later, mother and piano were reunited for the first time in decades. With the same sense of respect, my mother sat at the familiar ivory keyboard and sobbed her way through Debussy’s “Claire De Lune.”

I could fund a number of dreams with the sale of the piano that was restored to me, but I’ve never been able to disregard the history that tied two generations to an 88-keyed treasure.

IMAGE: “Woman at the Piano” by Henri Matisse (1869-1954).

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Kaki Olsen is a disability case manager who spends most of her off-work hours at her computer. She has been a published essayist since her debut at iEmily.com and her first novel, Swan and Shadow, was published by Sweetwater Press in 2016. She is an alumna of Lexington Christian Academy and Brigham Young University and her advice on the publishing process has been featured in AuthorsPublish’s e-zine as well as their Get Your Book Published: 10 Authors, 10 True Stories, 10 Ways to Get Your Book Published. Both books can be found at Amazon. She has been a guest speaker at two colleges and several conferences. When she is not at a computer keyboard, she enjoys playing several instruments, studying new languages, and traveling to foreign countries. Her published works are catalogued at kakiolsenbooks.com, while her critique of the written word is found at kakirecommends.com.   She appears on Twitter as @kakiolsenbooks and can be found on Facebook.

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The Sands Shifted Under Us Like Pickpockets
by Lee Parpart

How many obols has this ocean swallowed whole?
How many wedding rings and gold fillings have glinted
to the sea floor, to be mouthed and dropped by fish,
drawn into the yawning maws of mollusks, or fused
with mossy clumps of barnacle and rock?

I suppose we were flirting with fate when I started to push you
through surf, wheelbarrow-style, our roughhousing so wild
the gold-nugget band finally slipped your narrow finger.

From the moment it escaped to swirling sand, that ring
should have been lost – a sacrifice to any gods
in exchange for a good first year.

I don’t know what feral impulse drove me to the beach
to snatch those water-eyes off the first little face I could find –
yelling over my shoulder that I needed them and would be right back.

When I reached you again, you were staring through wavering,
fun-house water, losing hope amid flashes of abalone and sunlit stone.

With goggles on, you got down to business, floating and diving
in neat quadrants, fingering seaweeds and sands a breath at a time,
while I corralled the scene.

I fended off other swimmers.
I tried not to move.
I wondered if our marriage would be marked by loss.

Your whole body plunged, twisted, and burst up through the surface,
sand and water dribbling along your freckled forearm,
ring splitting the sun.

In our marriage, you are both finder and keeper.
I am chief instigator, creator of crises, sprinter for tools.

AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION: Stony Beach in Woods Hole, Massachusetts, where we lost and found my husband’s ring in 1994.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Lee Parpart has worked as a journalist and a media studies lecturer and researcher, publishing in books and journals on Canadian, U.S., and Irish cinema and television. Since returning to creative writing in 2015, she has contributed to numerous Silver Birch Press series, including “Same Name,” “Me at 17,” and “Me in a Hat.” She had a short story published in Silver Birch Press’s Nancy Drew Anthology (2016), and won an emerging writer award in Open Book: Ontario’s 2016 “What’s Your Story’” contest. She lives in Toronto with her husband and daughter.

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My Daughter Teaches Every Child She Knows to Love Her Cat
by Alice Morris

He was a half-grown stray regularly ripped to shreds
by the mangy pack of oversized ferals that had the run

of the old
beat-down neighborhood.

Early each morning he’d show up outside our cottage door —
crying, shaking, bleeding.

My three-year-old watched as I left him a little milk,
a bit of bread, a nip of cheese.

I’d tell my daughter stay back, explain
disease.

Eventually, she had to touch the copper-colored fur
on his back

and as though he knew he had found his home, his girl,
he never left a scratch.

We named him Penny because of his color, and because
it seemed his cat-world believed

he had no value.
But my child endlessly played with, talked about,

and drew pictures of our newfound Penny.
Soon, he appeared in other children’s family drawings.

AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION: A picture of Penny found in my jewelry box after 18 years (2017). My daughter made this small cutout picture of Penny when she was about five years old. (She was very skilled with the scissors.) She used an index card for extra strength. (Photo by Alice Morris.)

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: Lost and Found — I first thought of the diamond that I lost from a replacement wedding band, and recalled the dark hole left in its place, but this subject was suddenly eclipsed by a flood of images regarding, essentially, a refugee cat. The more I thought about how we found each other, it seemed that lost diamond kept getting smaller and smaller.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Alice Morris
, a Minnesota native, earned her BS from Towson State University, and MS from Johns Hopkins. She comes to writing with a background in art — published in a West Virginia textbook and The New York Art Review. Her poetry appears or forthcoming in The Broadkill Review, a shared chapbook, themed poetry collections and anthologies — most recently, Bared: Contemporary Poetry and Art on Bras and Breasts by Les Femmes Folles Books. Her work is also published by Silver Birch Press, The Avocet, The Weekly Avocet, and Delaware Beach Life.

Author photo by Alice Morris.

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A “found” umbrella
by Isobel Cunningham

My father took me to lunch one spring day when I was sixteen. In the restaurant he smelled the wine, took a sip, declared it “very nice,” and poured me a glass. I looked older than my years and, anyway, no one would have dreamed of challenging my father, of asking him why he was giving wine to a minor. He had an air of authority and of good-natured charm that carried all before him.

As we came out, a few drops of rain fell. He looked at my light dress. How could we wander around under dark clouds threatening a solid downpour?

The renowned Windsor Hotel loomed ahead and he suddenly caught my arm and directed me up the steps.

We approached the main desk.

“Hello,” he said with his cordial smile. “Has anyone turned in a black umbrella?”

“Just a moment, sir.” The clerk retreated to a mysterious back room and soon emerged with three large black umbrellas.

“Is one of these yours?”

“Ah there we are! That’s what I was looking for. Thank you, young man.”

I followed my father out of the hotel, slipped my arm under his and looked up into his face.

“Did you really lose that umbrella, Dad?”

“Well, no. You’ll notice I never actually said I had lost an umbrella.”

A long pause before he pronounced in his rather round-about Irish way.

“Remember, there are a finite number of umbrellas in this world and they are meant to be shared round. If someone wanted to borrow your umbrella, you’d lend it to them, wouldn’t you?”

Something to think about as I walked close to my father, sheltered from the rain. After all, there were still two umbrellas left in the Lost and Found.

IMAGE: “Umbrellas” by Fernand Leger (1881-1955).

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NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: This is the second prompt from Silver Birch Press that evoked a memory of my father. He was quite a character. It is a challenge to “tell the tale,” as he would put it, in 300 words while capturing his mercurial, charming, and unpredictable character. As a counterbalance to his unorthodox attitude to private property, I had my mother and the nuns who educated me.

AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION: At 17 with my mother, the other moral compass.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Isobel Cunningham writes poetry and short fiction. She has been published in Silver Birch Press online and Rat’s Ass Review online. She published her first book of poetry in 2015 entitled Northern Compass (available on Amazon) and she writes a blog  isobelmtl.wordpress.com. She is a docent at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts and finds inspiration in works of arts and in nature.

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Lost-n-found: A watch
By Sunil Sharma

Lost-n-found has got its
Own charm. Like a Bollywood flick, its own appeal and logic.
A kid brother first lost in a carnival — and then found as an adult. That is
Life — -plain boring; for some, a bit dramatic and strange.
This watch!
Gifted by a friend, when I was turning gray on temples, not in mind.
It was a small memento of a love hardly found these days
In a culture on a transactional mode.
Lost it one morning and searched in every nook and corner
Of my suburban Mumbai apartment but, as happens in such situations,
You fail to see the old specs on your nose, while raising hell on a Sunday humid morn!
So, dear readers, it happened, I searched every corner, cleaning the cobwebs
Here-there and cursing.
No watch! Whenever I met my friend, I would cover
My wrists with sleeves on hot days but
The good ol’friend won’t mind the charade.
Then, last month, cleaning the innards of the crowded cupboard, I found the watch –sitting there pretty in a box, amid other objects, a box daily seen, yet unseen!
And I shouted Eureka!
And uncovered my wrists
Again in the remainder days of the coastal summer
For my delighted office friend.

IMAGE: Drawing of astronomical clock by Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: This poem celebrates the joys and pain of losing and recovering little objects that constitute our mundane world.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Mumbai-based, Sunil Sharma writes prose and poetry, apart from doing literary journalism and freelancing. A senior academic, he has been published in some of the leading international journals and anthologies. Sunil has published three collections of poetry, one collection of short fiction, and one novel and has co-edited five books of poetry, short fiction, and literary criticism. He is the recipient of the UK-based Destiny Poets’ inaugural Poet of the Year award, 2012.  Another notable achievement is that his select poems were published in the prestigious UN project  Happiness: The Delight-Tree (2015). He edits English section of the monthly Setu, a bilingual journal from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

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Finders Keepers
by Erin K. Parker

I found the ring on the ground next to the entrance to the miniature golf course. Gasping in surprise, I bent down to pick it up, and held it up to my dad. He took it between his fingers and smiled.

“It’s pretty!” he said, and handed it back to me.

The ring was silver and had a knot etched on the top. I slipped it on to my first finger, and it fit perfectly. I’d never had a ring before.

“Well, look at that!” my dad said. “It’s your lucky day.”

“Aren’t we supposed to turn it in?” I reluctantly asked, already feeling the loss.

“No, why would you do that? Finders, keepers,” he said, winking.

I kept the ring on all day while we shot bright golf balls through windmills and over small bridges. The sun was bright and we were smiling. When I picked up my yellow golf ball, the ring clacked against the hard plastic. I stood up straighter, laughed louder, and felt special. I had a new ring.

Later, I pushed the thoughts of the girl who had lost the ring out of my head, and told anyone who would listen that my dad gave me the ring as a present. Not for my birthday or anything, but just because he saw it and knew I would like it. Because he loved me and wanted me to have something pretty.

I told the story so often that I started to believe it.

AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION: A ring that looks like the one I found that day.

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NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: At some point I started to hate that ring and I stopped wearing it. The guilt of not turning it in caught up to me, and it became a constant reminder of my dad’s emotional distance. I am not sure what happened to it, but I no longer have it. I’d like to think someone else found it and it brought them joy.

PHOTO: The author at age nine.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Erin K. Parker
won her first Creative Writing contest when she was 11, and has been writing ever since. Her work has been published by Uno Kudo, Red Fez, Drunk Monkeys, Cadence Collective, Lost in Thought, Timid Pirate Publishing, The Altar Collective, Santa Fe Lit Review, Lucid Moose Lit, and the Alice in Wonderland Anthology from Silver Birch Press. Erin was nominated for Best of the Net 2014. Her collection of short stories, The Secret and the Sacred, was published by Unknown Press and is available at Amazon.com.

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Umbrella Lost
by Katherine Edgren

My open umbrella dries damply on the floor
recalling another circled, portable protector:
collapsible with hinged ribs
big enough for a garrulous giant
rakish handle at a
                         rakish angle
gift from my young son, bought with a wad
that burned a hole in his pocket
on a World’s Fair vacation with indulgent Grandparents
in a city I can’t even remember
it was so long ago.

Dear, darling Doris and I were
plotting over pancakes at a local hole.
Sleep mustn’t yet have abandoned my muzzy head,
because I

               ***LOST*** the umbrella.

(The sky must have stopped its dripping and when I left,
I forgot my capacious canopy. Later
I went back to search where it never was
–even in the trunk of Doris’ car—)

GONE GONE GONE —
like a diamond down the drain
eluding, evading, escaping without me,
wings flapping an unseen farewell.

Something so precious,
LOST,
***and losing it the first time I used it***

Part of me has to believe
someone stole it (shhhhhhh)

Even now on dreary days,
I find myself watching for the waving of my prized parasol
over the heads of strangers-thieves-parasites.
( Um-brella Sun-brella Un-brella)

Thus paranoia planted its hairy beet-root
and began its expansion deep and wide.
I still mourn my lost brolly, my umbrolly,
my parapluie, my bumbershoot.

IMAGE: “Still Life with Peaches and Umbrella” by Andre Denoyer de Segonzac (1884-1974).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR:  I wrote this piece in an on-line class on metaphor taught by Jennifer Burd, as a part of the Loft Literary Center. It’s all true.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: In 2017
Katherine Edgren
’s book of poetry, The Grain Beneath the Gloss, will be published by Finishing Line Press, where her previous two chapbooks: Long Division (2014) and Transports (2009) were also published. Her poems have appeared in Christian Science Monitor, Birmingham Poetry Reviiew, and Barbaric Yawp, among others. She was born in 1950 and is a retired social worker who lives in Dexter, Michigan, with her husband and her dog. Visit her at kkedgren.wordpress.com.

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What Are The Odds?
by Sylvia Riojas Vaughn

The day Braniff Air
went bankrupt,
fleet grounded,
radio bulletins said
other carriers
would help.
And I,
stuck with a ticket,
lost my wallet.
I pulled into McDonald’s
on the way to the airport,
fumbled for my billfold.
Gone?
I dumped out my purse,
flung clothes
from my bag.
Gone!
I thumped my forehead —
I’d left it on the car roof
while packing!
The wingless leather clutch
had flown away.
I pictured skid marks
on my family photos,
a stranger whipping out
my Discover card,
the boarding pass
muddied mush.
Two weeks later,
a trucker called.
He’d collected everything
strewn along an overpass.
He smiled at my reward —
a bear hug, coffee and pie.

IMAGE: “Accessories” by Joan Brown (1971).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: The inspiration for this poem is true. My husband and I were on our way to Dallas/Fort Worth Airport in a rainstorm the day Braniff grounded its fleet. We were going to see about changing our tickets to Kansas City, Missouri, to another airline. This was before iPhones, etc. Unfortunately, my husband remembered he’d placed his wallet on the roof of the car as we packed. It flew off, and we had to turn back, because one couldn’t fly without one’s driver’s license. Some weeks later, a man called and said he’d found everything!

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Sylvia Riojas Vaughn is a Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net nominee. She has been selected as a Houston Poetry Fest Juried Poet three times.  She belongs to the Dallas Poets Community. Her work appears in The Arachneed Journal, Red River Review, Triadæ, HOUSEBOAT, Diálogo, Desde Hong Kong: Poets in conversation with Octavio Paz, Bearing the Mask: Southwestern Persona Poems (Dos Gatos Press, 2016), and anthologies and journals in the U.S. and abroad. Find her on LinkedIn.

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Circle Round
by Angela Cannon-Crothers

The Appalachian Trail in Vermont. My first child was born in Vermont. I was married in Vermont, on a hill top. A simple ceremony: Justice of the Peace, a witness, two gold rings. Six years later I am the mother of two and freshly fleshed from divorce, trail guiding back in Vermont. Not much pay, but a much needed vacation. Days in, after huffing up mountains carrying group gear, extra gear for those unable, and brewing Earl Gray for our elder hiker each morning, I was gifted a late afternoon respite at Stratton Pond. I sat out on a log over the water, discovering half hidden newts with finny tails and red bellies, like gems, swimming below. Newts transform twice in their lifetimes, from water to land, and back again. Like me. Shimmer of sun. Cold skinny dip in clear water. After, I was rummaging deep within my backpack for a bandanna to dry off with, when I felt it. My wedding ring. Having thought it was lost and gone for good I nearly laughed out loud at the pure coincidence of finding it here, back in Vermont. I rolled the dull gold around my fingers, memories circling. Pulling my arm behind, with great force, I threw the ring out toward the center of Stratton Pond. Here it would settle to the weedy bottom, a play thing for bright bellied newts and sparkling water. There it would always be. This, at least, would never be lost again.

IMAGE: “The Charmer” by John William Waterhouse (1911).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: This piece of prose for the “Lost and Found” Series came from a 4,000-word chapter in my unpublished memoir on the spirit of place. The ending is still, essentially, the same.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Angela Cannon-Crothers is a writer, naturalist, environmental educator, and college instructor in environmental science and writing. She was a finalist for the AROHO Orlando Prize for Nonfiction in 2011. Her work includes a book, Our Voices, Our Wisdom; An Herb Haven Year, a children’s book: Grape Pie Season, and a novel: The Wildcrafter. Her articles and essays have appeared in Orion, Northern Woodlands, Life in the Finger Lakes, BackHome, and the literary journal Stone Canoe. She lives on a small farm, in a bermed house, in the Finger Lakes of New York, while she finishes raising her youngest teenager daughter. She thinks that someday soon she may try a wilder, more wanderlust, life again.