Rebecca Daniels

Lost Things

Do you ever find yourself searching
for some inconsequential thing?
like the button to a pink sweater
that you rarely wear?

I used to search for one of those
in recurrent nightmares.
I would find myself in the midst
of a catastrophe—
a flood, a city being bombed, an active volcano—
everyone desperately running for their lives
while I frantically comb
through the scattered debris
for that particular button.
I can’t leave without it,
and never do find it.

Even when I’m wide awake
I find myself searching—
for the other old sock,
for yesterday’s To Do list,
for things I will promptly throw away
if I find them.
I just want to know where they are
and what happened to them
when I lost track.

Martha’s Vineyard

Their first vacation together—
a weekend alone
at Martha’s Vineyard in December.
No noisy tourists.
Just the two of them
on an island in the ocean.

The Atlantic glinted like a knife,
carving out its own space
between endless sky and sand.
They could only gaze at it
and wonder what it might be like
to immerse themselves.

In their tiny rented room
they watched After the Fall on TV
while she smoked pot
and he drank scotch.
They had come prepared.

Even with the pot,
she couldn’t unwind.
She coiled in on herself
like a snake about to strike,
wishing for a rock
to hide behind.

Who was this alien creature
lying next to her in the strange bed?
Certainly not the man
she hoped to share her life with.

Blaming it on the weather,
they left a day early
and headed back to the city in their rented car.
They didn’t speak or even touch
until Manhattan’s skyline reappeared.

Maidenhair Fern

Your fragile, scalloped leaves
swayed gracefully from wiry stems
to the whims of summer breezes.
All you required
during those halcyon days
was a passing caress,
an occasional sip of water,
some sun.

When the weather changed
I placed you near a window
where we watched
snowy mountains emerge
from behind a curtain of trees,
while your leaves turned brown
and your stems grew brittle,
until nothing was left
in your pink ceramic pot
but barren soil.

Still, I waited patiently
for the black spores,
hidden last spring
under your fluttering skirts,
to sprout again, and
prayed for the first glimpse
of a tiny frond unfurling.

About the Author

Rebecca Daniels grew up in Greenwich Village during the 40's and 50's. She moved to Woodstock, NY in 1974. Her arts-related reviews and feature articles were published weekly in the Woodstock Times for 25 years until 2008. During this time, she also had her own business, Writers Support Service. Now retired, Rebecca writes poetry and paints. After five years of focusing on writing haiku, the urge to create longer poems overtook her. Since then, she has work-shopped her poems with James Lasdun, Lee Gould, and Susan Sindall. She regularly reads at open mics and meets with peers to critique each other’s poetry.

(click here to close this window)