Lost & Found People

Kim Stafford
| poetry


That’s what Jamie called them,
when we met in prison
and he spoke of love: “There was
this great big woman,” he said—
“big heart, trouble getting around,
so I helped her, we went to all
the homeless camps to round up
the First people, the Native people,
the Lost and Found people, got them
on this bus to the Sun Dance where
you have to bleed to make it
real, to let the Creator see you,
just look up into the sky, into
the sun, let go all the bad you’ve done,
stand on the ground, on the earth,
open your heart to who you are—
lost and found, lost and found,
I was lost and I was found.”

Then Jamie was silent for a time.
There was a light around him
where he sat in that flimsy prison chair.
That light came from the woman he helped.
It came from the sun.
It came from his heart
first hurt when he was young.
It came from what he still has to do.
He carried that light. I carry it.
I give his light to you.

Kim Stafford is the author of a dozen books of poetry and prose, and currently serves as Oregon’s poet laureate. He directs the Northwest Writing Institute at Lewis & Clark College.

Buffalo Creek
First warm day