Today's dual prompts from Poetic Asides and NaPoWriMo are rather similar: (1) write a "discovery" poem, and (2) write a poem about luck or something fortuitous, or something lost and found. This is a true story (with a few details changed) that actually happened to my wife and her sister.
Ghost in the Floor
They were tearing up the floor in the kitchen
of an old house they had bought with their uncle's
inheritance money. He'd lived in Atlantic City
for decades, and wintered in Florida,
making a living as a musician, his career
dating back to the Big Band days.
He had a penny-pincher reputation
but he left them a modestly generous sum
and they invested it in real estate
not far from his home town. They weren't sure yet
whether they wanted to rent this house or flip it,
but it needed a lot of work.
They were pulling up all the ugly green linoleum,
dating probably from the Eisenhower era,
when they found old newspapers in the underlayment
and one photo caught their eyes.
It was Uncle Jerry in a white dinner jacket,
cradling his saxophone, ready to play
with a local band. He smiled at them, as if to say
Yes, you've used my money wisely,
as if any moment he'd lick the reed of his sax
and serenade them with a song.
While we're on the subject of "lost and found", here's a poem I wrote for last year's Tiferet Journal Poem-a-thon. It's about a friend's daughter, and it was published in their PDF book of the best poems from the participants in that poetry challenge.
Lost and Found
St. Anthony, please come around,
something is lost and cannot be found
You thought you'd found happiness
till you faced the diamond-hard reality
that he was not who he appeared to be.
The invitations were already sent out when
your dreams shattered like a cheap glass.
Where would you ever find happiness again?
It wasn't under the sofa cushions -
only food crumbs and loose change.
Nor was it under the bed, although if happiness
were dust bunnies, you'd be in bliss.
Not in the cabinets, not the dirty laundry.
You said the prayer your mother taught you,
but the saint didn't seem to be listening.
Then one night you found it on a rooftop,
with a friend you hadn't seen in years.
You talked and laughed into the small hours
and you suddenly realized he was your star
in that night sky - Polaris, lined up in your sextant
to get your bearings, to steer your sails,
and you were his new constellation.
Now today is your wedding day,
and your families have already blended,
love brimming over like the wine fountain
at your reception. How did you ever get so lucky?
Maybe it's just that happiness, like any lost thing,
is always in the last place you look.