On the General Being of Lostness
By Jeff Latosik
Lostness is the You Are Here, the red star
that the mall map linked to GPS.
As if you’d stared into your nowhere
like a sun and photoreceptors
compensated with a point.
Lostness is an immaculately well-dressed
person or a room laid out like charcuterie.
It’s a feeling someone loves you after
a ten-minute talk. Oh yes, but lostness
is loving someone too, knowing you would
take the raft out further if it meant
a few more minutes. Sometimes,
I want to tell my dog that I’m the only one
in the world who knows her whereabouts
and that’s lostness but it’s lived in.
It isn’t sadness. Lostness is the job I had
in ’98 in a warehouse unpacking chic decor
where I began to unravel and unmake
the very things the company was selling.
It was the boxes I moved forward
on the shelves until they lined up well,
pop choruses that played again for the beautiful
and found. It’s almost gladness. It’s the walk
I took one day trying to decide should I live in Montreal?
and thinking that I knew something to make it plain.
Lostness is the many rains of money
that I once watched from an open window.
It’s long been here. It was the semilunate carpal
flowering in late-Cretaceous bones
where everything was going then never more unclear.
It was the first prokaryote closing off its little O
and all that it could be instead.
But lostness is a steady wage. I remember
when my grandfather would come home
from the squats and thousand double checks
of electrical work and wash his hands:
all the dirt moved in his laundry sink
like garter snakes that turned up under stones,
a living current so bearable in its lostness
that I could know it, only, for a hundred years
and still be happy. Lostness was the school
I went to where leaving crumbs on rectangles of paper
meant showing the way someone would have to come.
It was having your knapsack up on the table
like a personal flotation device. It wouldn’t be wrong
to say that lostness is always there on the lip of everything,
like lichen or a bomb. There is a loving lostness
that if you look deep into, you see a great
balance beam that everything
that was, or is, or that may be, is standing on.