If You Should Be Lost

—Harry Lafnear

When the vista glares at you,
And the storefront signs grow harsh,
Their cold buzz refusing to grant
The harbor of their meaning,
You are nearly there.
It is a short drive to the place
Where the path you were expecting,
Now alarmingly late to arrive,
Has been deleted. Move along.

And when the notions of near and far circle
Their wagons against you
Or flatten themselves on the cartoon sky
Like the painted panels behind
A grade-school play,
You may still find your way.
You may still be recognized.

So pass the no-brand fuel
Where county maps are plentiful,
And ignore the kind ol’ salt
Riding his tractor along the washboard road—
These are cunning traps.
Continue. Faster.
Until the strange curves
Around mountain and stream
Sing you a brand new story
In a language you didn’t know
You would understand.

A little farther
And you will find yourself
Outside your knowing,
Backstage of your being.
In other words, Lost.
Until then, you may still turn back,
Chicken out and find your home
With no artifact and no harrowing tale
Of chance, escape, or love.
Until then, you may still know who you are
By what you recognize,
Instead of how you arrived.

One thought on “If You Should Be Lost

  1. Wonderful poem, Harry! I love the simple eloquence of it, its plain-spoken manner and modesty remind of Philip Levine’s poetry.

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