- Origin Story
poem, Hari Alluri
The Goddess of Lost Things is no boat,no container for my seeking. I am sorryI know only that my mother's ancestors named herAnagolay—please allow me my invented version:how she came to be (there's a river in this story;I don't know where to put it). Let's say, in the beginning,there was pure consciousness,then jump to now, here, this city,in the green space between this mall's and thatapartment's parking lots, facing the woundin the trunk of this cherry tree, larger than your torso,shaped like an open human pelvis heart, a serratedlandscaper's blade in the innermost foldcamouflaged against the healing scar.Behind you, around that lone cedar, the sunfire and white rosepetals fade into the ground. When they do,whoever keeps leaving them here will no doubt bring more.
You might wonder howsomebody could have died in this placebut this is the earth,whose every inch is rich in death's memoryand so you smileat the thought of lining the planet'sentire surface with petals,at the joyous grief all will fade,the simple fact that the act is nothingthe world hasn't already been doingsince the first petal changed its colorand you recall the sparklingsunset through a beer glasswhen your friend warned you that if you lose yourself [End Page 672] in any story, even a true one,eventually you lose that story as well.
There, in the mall lot to your right, two carsused to pull up next to each other after close,one driver getting out to join the other.I do not want my own desire to choose the make and model,the drivers' genders and styles of dress.What I know is this: they kiss and then relent.Then one evening, when no more lies that matter remainbetween them, they walk over to that patch of grass,hand in hand. Each releasespetals onto the ground beside the cedar tree.They make love, awash by that streetlampwhose light fluctuates the shadowsof the cherry tree's branches in the wind.It is the most beautiful lovemaking of either's life.They cry, feeling themselves close to returningto the memory of themselves before bodies were invented.Here is the summation of their loss:a sock-patch needle, an empty trunk, a tired deck of cards.The one who is left behind returns to this place,lays down among petals the way the two used to,imagines the other's body close at handinto release, does so every nighttill the petals are faded, offers once more,returns home to sacrifice the only life acceptable.The rose colors fade and no one comes to replace them.
If you invent this story, petals appear behind youto fade again. Someone has touched hands at the holy ground,which could be any ground, ancient and brand newgrass, chopped up gravel, river bed.Now you turn to surrender the story,knowing what we all know, that you must surrender it [End Page 673] before surrendering to it, the waywhat was alone sacrificed aloneness itselfin favor of a universe of objectsin relation, making my peopleinvent a goddess of lost things. [End Page 674]
hari alluri is the author of The Flayed City, Carving Ashes, and the chapbook The Promise of Rust. An award-winning poet, educator, and cofounding editor at Locked Horn Press, his work appears in anthologies, journals, and online venues, including Chautauqua, Poetry International, and on Split This Rock. He immigrated to Vancouver, Musqueam land, where he is working on a poetic intervention into the story of Ekalavya.