Lost Forest


A name was quietly erased today.

A name pulled from the records with no added explanation,

A name slipped away from our collective sub-conscious.

Illness gives way to absence, absence becomes prolonged indifference,

Prolonged indifference gives way to questioned existence,

A name is all that ties one to existence.

A name was quietly erased today.









other submissions by damnjordan

3 thoughts on “Lost Forest”

  1. I’m quite haunted by this piece… Having read it several times now I have had the same reaction each time: a desperate wonder as to WHAT the lost name is and the eerie realization that because it is lost I will never know…

    I love how you set this tension up from the very first line. With each line after there is an intensifying of the “fearful curiosity”… The first time I read this I found myself fighting the desire to jump ahead or scan to find what the subject is (much as one would read a newspaper article about “the disappearance of the rare and beautiful….”). But of course in the end there is no answer, rather a mocking repeat of the initial curiosity.

    Great job here. I feel like you tricked me into having an even deeper insight into what it means for something to truly disappear, and an unsettling feeling that it was something truly wonderful that I will never now know.

    karma Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  2. Thanks for your comments! I was eager to see what your reaction to this poem would be before I said anything about it, and I love the insights you have made. This poem did have a very specific subject in mind when I wrote it, but I chose to keep it purposefully ambiguous. I was hoping to create that sense that all things in life will cease to exist once we no longer have a name for them, and once the name is lost there is no way of bringing it back without that which to call it. I wanted the reader reflect without the distraction of the topic, and, based on your comments, this is exactly what you did. So thank you!

    But, anyways, the topic…

    Last spring I had a student who was pulled out of school after being diagnosed with leukemia. He was sent back to the States to get treatment, and we were all told he would come back as soon as things improved. His name remained in my gradebook for the remainder of the year. I taught him in grade 8, and then I was supposed to teach him again in Honors grade 9, and when I came back this year, his name was once again in my gradebook. I had emailed his parents over the summer and never heard back from anyone, but he was still a registered student at out school, which therefore must have meant they continued to believe he would be returning to school at some point.

    Each day I would take attendance, mark him absent, and move on. But it was at least reassuring to see his name there each day. However, one day I logged into my computer and found that his name had been withdrawn from my class. That was it. There was no email explaining it, or no word from the office regarding his condition. He had been gone long enough at this point that kids never asked about him or anything.. which only accentuated the feeling that he existed in this reality (the school reality?) in name form only. Now that his name was gone, so was he. I naturally assumed the worst, or at least assumed that his condition had worsened. I was sad to see his name disappear…

    That was when I wrote the poem. Sort of a eulogy to a name, an identity, and a person.

    But GOOD NEWS! It turns out the kid is fine! I just found out that he is returning to school, and some scheduling conflict resulted in him being pulled from my English class and placed in another. Apparently he is clean of leukemia, and will be back in school soon as a normally healthy teenager. What a relief!

    karma Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  3. Wow! I never would have guessed that although I am amazed at myself for not connecting the two R’s in the title of the poem as being a name… I just expected you were talking about some beautiful jungle somewhere being turned into toothpicks and coffee plantations!

    That certainly adds another layer to consider, although I think the original poem was so successful that the backstory is for the privileged few to mull over! And I’m glad he’s okay, even if he’s planted elsewhere!

    karma Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

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