To Pray To The Goddess Of Lost Things
Help me to find my innocence. I may have dropped it
On the bus last week, when I also lost my cellphone,
And a notebook full of poems. I keep dropping things.
I forget where I’ve left things. People keep taking my shit
Without asking. Maybe I’ve forgotten what I’ve lent out.
I can’t hold it together. I’m trying. I’m trying, so help me
To find my pride. Some punk ass bitch stole it from me,
I’m sure, when I was at the mall. I just turned around
For a second. I was looking for my mother. I was
Updating my Facebook. I was blindsided by something
That must have been important, I was shoulder bumped
By strangers, I was robbed. I searched all my pockets,
My skinny jeans in piles of laundry, my shopping bags,
My crumpled receipts, and it just wasn’t anywhere.
Where is my dignity, where is my credit card, where are
My self-esteem, my perfect size-two body, my medication,
Where did I leave those? Where is my lipstick, my car keys,
Where is my one true love, my very own happily ever after.
Where is my voice. Every time I speak, some man, any man
Always interrupts, and every time I speak louder, he shouts.
He claims he knows far better than I, what I need, what’s good
For me. Where is my fire to burn the filth from his tongue.
He wants me to fit in his pants pocket. Where are my knives.
Where is my backbone. Where is my wishbone. Help me
Find my voice, because some white woman keeps yapping
At me, as if I should drop everything. As if I must listen.
She says she speaks on my behalf. Do not believe her.
She says she’s my friend and my sister. She’s a dirty liar.
Where are my manners? I seem to have lost those too.
My mother taught me to say please. Please help me find her.
Where is my compass; this GPS keeps leading me away
From all that is clear and cool. Help me to locate my center.
Where are my manners? My mother taught me also,
To remember to breathe. And always, always give thanks.
Barbara Jane Reyes is the author of Diwata (BOA Editions, Ltd., 2010), winner of the Global Filipino Literary Award for Poetry. She was born in Manila, Philippines, raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, and is the author of two previous collections of poetry, Gravities of Center (Arkipelago Books, 2003) and Poeta en San Francisco (Tinfish Press, 2005), which received the James Laughlin Award of the Academy of American Poets. Her fourth book, To Love as Aswang, is forthcoming from PAWA, Inc. She is also the author of the chapbooks Easter Sunday, Cherry, and For the City that Nearly Broke Me. She teaches in the Yuchengco Philippine Studies Program at University of San Francisco.