"Reconciliation" Contest Winners / December 2014 (Issue 26)


by Jeffrey B. Javier

When things are missing
I crouch on the floor
and look for them under the bed.
Like the monsters I imagined as a child,
they do not always turn up where I needed them.
Sometimes, I wish for their certain existence
if only not to disappoint
those whom I call at night
those who have slipped into their bath robes
who have come into my room
and turned on the lights.

A pencil rolling beneath the table
a coin falling into the crook of bus seats
a misplaced key on the kitchen counter
an engagement ring sliding off the finger
and dropping into the upturned garden soil
I look for all of them under the bed.

The things I have lost, how they turn
into the monsters I keep waiting for.
Whom do I call on a rainy Saturday night?
Who will answer the telephone at one in the morning?
Who will open the door
and turn on the lights?

The things I have missed
how I crouch on the floor
and look for them in this depth.
Sometimes all I need
is a hand
extending out from the dark and offering my loss.

Jeffrey JavierThis is a Finalist of Cha's "Reconciliation" Poetry Contest. Jeffrey Javier on "Missing": The spur of the poem happened while I was reading the latest in the series of rejection letters I had been receiving successively at the time. Midway through the email, I dropped the object I was holding (a pen, a camphor tub, I forgot) and rolled under the bed. I stooped to pick it up. Though I had grown rather indifferent to the refusals, it was there on the floor that the bulk of quiet dejection pressed down on me. I had been collecting rejection letters, had them filtered and color-coordinated in my inbox, expecting their arrival: blue for job applications, red for literary journals, etc. The poem is an attempt to relocate the heaviness I was feeling into small ordinary objects and seeks to address the unquellable uneasiness that haunts us throughout the day, or even our lifetime, the moment we realize we lost them. [Read Jason Lee's commentary on "Missing"] [Back to "Reconciliation"]
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