A Letter to My Lost

Taylor Frost, Hollins University, Virginia, United States


To my own,

I think about you every day–

you are my morning thought, my midnight

prayer. I think about your undetected heartbeat,

about your undeveloped lungs, about your freckled

cheeks, about your rose petal lips never curling

into a smile, about your forehead and your nose

and your fingertips and the bottoms of your feet

and all of the delicate skin that I will never touch,

that I will never press against my crooning mouth

just to see your curious eyes open.

I think about the way your father would look

with your miracle body cradled in his arms–

I see him kissing the tips of your ears, weaving

lullabies into your corn silk hair, laughing into

your reaching, open palms. I see him spooning

drops of amber honey on to your tongue, feeding

you tales of peach fuzz summers, of afternoons

spent chewing honeycomb on your great-grandfather’s

farm. I see him in the dark, bare feet lifting from the cold

kitchen floor, raising you up, holding you face to face

with the moon.

I think about who I could have been with you–

the kind of mother who would wash your muddy legs

in the bed of a quiet river on a Sunday, the kind

of mother who would carry you up a mountain

on my back to watch your first sunrise, the kind of mother

who would plant honeysuckle beneath your window,

the kind of mother who would pull you out into the storm

just so that you could taste the rain. I would be the kind

of mother to count your first steps, your oceans of tears,

your lost teeth, the number of stars in your vast, endless sky.

There is a word in the Portuguese language

that refers to the feeling of longing for something or someone

that you love and which is lost, Saudade.

That is what I call you.