What Could I Lose?

by Shari Lynne Smothers

post-Hurricane Katrina images

What would
devastate me
should I lose it
in this lifetime
is nothing I
can touch by hand.
For if I can
touch it
someone else
could break it.
Or, I could lose
my hands.
It is nothing
I can see
or smell.
For I could
lose
those senses
as well.
It’s nothing
I could taste.
An edible thing
is transient.
And finally
that sense could
fail me, too.
What would
devastate me
should I lose it
in this lifetime,
would only
disappoint me
in the hereafter.
Only then would
I realize
that I had
lost my mind.

From Pebbles in My Shoes, ©2004

Back-Story: This poem is light and heavy. I sat on the bed in my grandmother’s house and wrote this poem. It was just a passing meditation on what I had that I was willing to lose. Naturally it followed that I began to muse about what I couldn’t bear to lose. And various things came to me including thoughts about the losses I’d already suffered. One by one I reduced the number of things that I would kill and die for.

It really came down to a major appreciation for the things and people that I had. And then I considered that no matter how much I might be willing to sacrifice for a person, they too are perishable. The culmination was this poem. I like it because it describes what could be considered weighty contemplations in a fairly light tone.

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