when you lose the keys
by Alan Gann

and directions to the grocery store
become a spaghetti of turn left
yield next right circle back to nowhere

when the spice cake recipe on a box of mix
leaves you crying
and you cannot remember if that orange light
means the stove is on or off

when you lose za and qi and xi
and none of the seven letter words you taught me
fit on your scrabble board

when you lose steinbeck and hemingway
faulkner and wolf and welty melt on the page
stumble over the lyrics to stardust
skylark and it’s only a paper moon

and even when you lose my name
in a clatter of grandchildren
and dimly lit suitors come unmoored in time

on a ripe june morning i will pick
a fragrant bucket full then with ella on the turntable
serve chilled strawberries with warm biscuits
and fresh whipped crème.

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