This was written after I completed a five mile hike and then picked up a volume of Elizabeth Bishop's poetry to enjoy once again on a sunny afternoon. My answer to Bishop's poem, One Art.
In this thing called losing, Bishop said we become masters And that losing isn’t a disaster. No, Not a disaster. Losing socks and such stuff. I’ve lost earrings, bracelets, Expensive ones too, didn’t care Beyond maybe a minute or two. And no pain beyond a stab of nostalgia Did I have upon saying goodbye To three houses and two cities. And yes, it was no disaster To bury my mother, A father who really wasn’t, The man who really was, First one brother, then the other, Then lastly, a wife. With each, my body and soul Savaged by a hurricane, catastrophic, yes. But no, no disaster. Except perhaps, yes, I’ll admit, A tiny bit of soul eroded From the waves of each hurricane Breaking over me as I buried each. And nothing, nothing did I master. Except, maybe this— I did not look for them Since they were gone, Emptied of this earth. Now, there is you and I look for you In everything I do-- Every sunset Every sunrise Every in between time. I look for you in strangers, In cars I pass along the street. I look for you at festivals, In films I see. I look for you in places, In the sky of Ruidoso, In bars, In restaurants, In the eyes of strangers, I look for you. I look for you in all this. And in this thing Called losing, In which I am well-schooled, As are we all, I have tried to make an art, To make an art of all this loss. Yes, this may be no real disaster, But Bishop lied. There is no art in losing, No art at all, That I can find to master.