Lost is the Farthest Place - Richard Gillman
Even if they are lucky enough
to make it to a town
where someone else speaks English,
it could be one of those lost towns,
so small and short on pride
it has no written history, one of
those towns with a mountain
that shadows it all day long,
where shops are out of anything
indispensable, maps in English mostly.
Even if the place has a McDonald's,
the help may only work there,
live outside of town,
be so young they don't care about
museums, churches, health-food stores, dances,
or whether the town is on a map or if
the concrete complex
sprawling against the sky
is a university or a
flawed, forgotten nuclear reactor.
And yet if they stay on the roads,
go squealing around the sides of mountains, if
they press on up to sixty, seventy-five,
as if the road is theirs, put there
to try their untried courage and their
undying picture of themselves, if
they give no thought to
which exit is better for their lives, trusting
there will be a way out
when they are ready,
that the sign they will understand
is the one that's meant for them to follow
and will definitely appear - this
is the sense of lordly luck
that being abroad and young can brew,
while all the time in fact
they will simply be getting lost
faster and faster.
If you are chomping at the bit to say lost
is generally in the mind, that I have given it too much,
listen to me: lost is more than losing your glasses
for a few hours, or your last twenty dollars
or your recollection of exactly how a compass
has anything to do with anything.
Lost is no fooling, lost is
the farthest place there is. Lost raises hell
with the mind, becomes a wretched boss.
Lost is where you begin to believe
no one can find you, not even yourself,
because you start to feel not worthy of being found,
given how lost you are guilty of getting.
True lost, I am trying to tell you, means
death, only its loneliness breathing.
Am I the only one who knows this?