A Million-and-One Things Missing,
Plus a Couple Items Found
- An orange male cat. Last seen patrolling the neighborhood. Answers to the name of Henry. Friendly. Snags robins right out of the air.
- That winter night we spent in your new house. So recent you hadn’t moved in, you’d barely started—just a couch downstairs and a mattress in your room. And I didn’t . . . we didn’t have . . . God, you were beautiful. I wish we had that back to do again.
- Eleven photo albums. Last seen in a house fire.
- Not a six-year-old boy’s first tooth but the image of him with that speck in his hand, held up high as the Olympic Torch, and an open-faced smile full of Question Mark and Triumph, and something else—a third thing—that I can’t quite picture anymore.
- Her likeness to cartwheels. Last seen traded for
an Official Rule Book.
The Registry of Human Excuses. Recovered out wandering dully wherever. Answers to any of the following: Regrettably, Mistakes Were Made, We Intend to Cooperate Fully with the Investigation, However, On the Other Hand, Our Hands Are Tied, It’s Not My Fault That, You Need to Talk to So-And-So, You’re in the Wrong Line for That, I Hear You Sir or Ma’am but without Form 24B . . .
- All copies of 24B.
- And so many acres of our final forests I can’t count . . .
and I can’t count extinctions; they all subtract to forever . . .
and an orange male ricochet, answers to the name of Henry . . .
and snow—there used to be snow, a lot more of it . . .
and you and that night in that winter we didn’t really start.