To Lose

by nicolecallihan

To lose; as in, misplace; as in, it took my mother years to forgive me for losing that old blue sweater; or to lose, as in not win; as in, every time I play Scrabble with my mother I’m reminded of what it means to lose, I mean, really lose.

And then, there is this: after a long summer and the sideways glances, the saying it: I lost the baby. Louder, again, because maybe they didn’t hear. Lost. Or understand. I lost the baby, I say; the baby was lost. Or hearing it whispered through thin cubicle walls: there was a baby; she lost it.

I keep imagining flipping the couch cushions and dumping out all my bags, tearing the whole house apart, root to stem, the whole place unearthed for a singular recovery.

Instead, I roll the grammar of it all in my head: to lose, to have lost, lost. Lost. And suddenly, I find myself in the classroom with my new students, and I am fumbling with folders, Welcome, I say. Where do we begin?