I almost regretted not being better prepared for God’s could-have-fooled-me
children, scam lambs, numb to the world, bumping into me,
suspiciously large hands laid on my shoulder in sparse apology,
my wallet gone, vanished. Most likely it was a good soul, lost to summer heat,
desperate for quick cash, disappointed with my spare change, prayer card
and a single ticket stub I’d kept from a local performance of The Miracle Worker.
Raisa spit cold scrambled eggs, dodged pitchers of cold water, kept
the key to Annie’s room under her tongue. I watched all seven performances.
Mother proud, I came in love & went in love.
The ticket I most wanted back. Blame it on the fact I was late
to mass, a few other parishioners straggling in too like lost sheep, missed
the opening prayer to St. Anthony of Padua, patron saint of all things lost.
By early afternoon, I imagined all the home entertainment systems,
exotic drinks, full gas tanks, a first class flight to St. Paul. When the policeman
called Lady, you sure like shopping meaning all the credit cards I’d just cancelled,
to tell me someone had just dropped my wallet into a blue mail receptacle
to be returned to me, everything, except the ticket stub,
as if they’d too seen my daughter at the pump, kneeling in the light,
stroking her cheek, water spilling into her open hand, spelling, yes —
the grass & the earth, true — but water, equally beautiful
water spilling water too.
Dzvinia Orlowsky is a founding editor of Four Way Books and the author of three poetry collections including “Except for One Obscene Brushstroke” (Carnegie Mellon University Press, 2004). Her poetry and translations have appeared in numerous anthologies including “A Map of Hope: An International Literary Anthology; From Three Worlds: New Writing from the Ukraine”; and “A Hundred Years of Youth: A Bilingual Anthology” of 20th Century Ukrainian Poetry. She currently teaches at the Solstice Low-Residency MFA in Creative Writing Program at Pine Manor College.