"Lost Mountain" by Karen Skolfield

Karen Skolfield

Karen Skolfield

Karen Skolfield’s book Frost in the Low Areas (Zone 3) won the 2014 PEN New England Award in poetry. She received fellowships and awards from the Poetry Society of America, New England Public Radio, Massachusetts Cultural Council, Ucross Foundation, Split This Rock, Hedgebrook, and Vermont Studio Center. She first appeared in Superstition Review in issue 8; new poems of hers appear in Crazyhorse, Guernica, Indiana Review, Pleiades, Slice, and Washington Square Review. She teaches writing to engineers at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

Lost Mountain

I hate when I misplace entire geographical features.
There was the oxbow, that's understandable,
its meandering ways, how easy to set it
on the countertop or above the fridge
and walk away, then think of it weeks later,
all dried out. Blame my husband, if I can,
since he is forever depositing items on the mantle.

Next the savannah, or really just a portion
of the savannah, I don't want my muddle-
headedness out of proportion, yes it was large
enough for two lion prides and their prey,
but it wasn't the whole thing. Slipped behind
the couch, as savannahs sometimes do,
and it wasn't until the vultures started circling
that I knew, and what a shock then to find
the savannah, which honestly no one had missed,
instead of the ice cap, which we talked about
every day.

The salt flat was not my fault.
And the hills, who can see them through the haze.

Then the volcano, which you wouldn't think
I could lose, what with the accompanying
poisonous gas, molten lava, etc.,
but I have a knack for this, I am forever losing
sunglasses too, how my husband hates that,
since I like the expensive polarized type.

The delta, the river system, the Continental Divide.
The little desert and then the bigger one.
The worried looks on the children's faces
as if I had misplaced the whole world
and lost something that was really theirs.