Lost and Found
Father's lost his wallet, and almost his
mind--to Alzheimer's; still, there's enough Dad
left to become angry--at me, the son
who bears his name; and of bewildered boy
to cry. We've looked everywhere in his room,
where I'd swear he last had it, but the thing
possesses him now. I've found everything
else he's hoarded--chocolate, soda pop, mints,
toaster pastries, half-eaten apples, nuts,
batteries, light bulbs, crossword-puzzle books,
candles, cigarettes (mine--he doesn't smoke),
pencils, pens, erasers, paper clips, twist
-ties . . . . I could cry myself. In his billfold
is petty cash, a Blue Cross card, a non
-driver's identification, and God
knows what else. I telephone a sister:
Oh, it'll turn up, she says--promises.
Look in all his trouser pockets. Search his
coats. Examine every dresser drawer.
Look under his bed, inside his pillows,
between sheets, underneath the mattresses.
In his garbage can. In Mother's things. (She's
dead). I give up. I've spent the day searching
and all I've gotten for it is weaker.
Tomorrow I'll play detective again
but I don't have much left, am beginning
to feel that if there is Divine Justice,
finding his wallet will be tantamount
to regaining his mind--his billfold is
his identity, his soul, in dimpled
leather. I wish I could locate it: I'd
hold it in triumph before him, and say
Looky here what I found, Father--have you
been missing this? And his face would flush light
and beam on me, as many years ago it did,
when I did something that made him damned proud
it almost broke his heart, in the right way.
I'd give his identity back to him
and be the little man he said I was,
the boy who would go far, even father
than he did, and that would be going some.
As it is, he's sleeping now, perhaps dreaming
of where he lost it. If I get to sleep
tonight, perhaps I'll dream of a secret
place where it lies waiting, just waiting, to
be found again. And I'll find the damned thing
if it's the last thing I ever do and
the only miracle I'll ever know.
Besides Father, of course, out of his mind
but sharp as a spirit, wholly recovered.
Gale Acuff has had poetry published in Ascent, Ohio Journal, Desca nt, Poem, Adirondack Review, Coe Review, Worcester Review, Mary land Poetry Review, Arkansas Review, Florida Review, South Carolina Review, Carolina Quarterly, South Dakota Review, Sequential Art Narrative in Education, and many other journals. He has authored three books of poetry: Buffalo Nickel (BrickHouse Press, 2004), The Weight of the World (BrickHouse, 2006), and The Story of My Lives (BrickHouse, 2008).