We were in a rush to get out of the hotel room.
We had played in the pool until the last minute,
and the check-out time was at hand.
And we didn’t do as careful a walk-through as we should have.
And so unnoticed and left behind
were a beloved stuffed lamb and a blanket—
a blanket she had had since birth
no longer really recognizable as a blanket—
threads we had knotted together in a fabric clump
to stave off further disintegration.
Unnoticed and left behind.
Unnoticed until, of course, bedtime, at the next hotel, the next night.
I was the one who went back out to the car to get them …
who didn’t find them …
and who realized a terrible, sinking fear.
And out in that hotel parking lot, I called the other hotel,
And they had the lamb.
Then it was back into the present day’s hotel room
to face the immediate grief of one old enough
to be so aware—so painfully aware—
in the full empathy of love
“He went out with the trash ….”
And the wrenching sobs of deep hurt,
and the so honest internal processing:
“I wish he didn’t look so much like a rag;
I wish I hadn’t loved him so much.”
And the full so brave awareness of what this meant:
“I loved him so long, I can’t start over with something else.”
How easy it would have been to circumvent it all
if we hadn’t been in such a hurry
if we had taken just a little more care.
And now we’re left to weigh
the profound importance of what was lost
and the insignificance of a specific check-out time
on which we focused.
It’s a terrible gift of hindsight
to know how completely