On an Escalator – by Mary M. Brown

On an Escalator

You drop a pocketful
of change while going
down, and something

drops inside you too,
rehearses every moment
of your life’s losses,

those few felt deeply.
It’s as if something
depends on these coins,

though nothing does,
not lunch or even a cup
of coffee as it might

have for your granddad
—half a day’s wages
lost down a grate or a

drain. But though this
money means little
in your life, a flushing

panic sets in and people
behind you feel it too,
kindly bend before

they are forced to step
off by the thrust and
leveling of the moving

walk to retrieve what
you have lost but what
you realize now is

irretrievable and what has
become, suddenly and
strangely, dear to you.

Mary M. Brown lives with her husband Bill in Anderson, Indiana. She taught literature and creative writing at Indiana Wesleyan University for many years. Her work appears on the Poetry Foundation and American Life in Poetry websites and recently in Third Wednesday, Plough, and JJournal. Her work is also forthcoming in 2019 New Poetry from the Midwest. She is the poetry editor of Flying Island.

Statement by Featured Artist, Shelley Thomas: It’s the little losses that sometimes hurt the most. The awareness and reluctant acceptance of things that do not return or things that can’t be retrieved. So many things are left behind at the beach. Any metal detector enthusiast will tell you that. I imagine lost change, a dog-chewed frisbee, a child's forgotten marble on the beach. What was once insignificant can suddenly hold value beyond measure. Sea-worn marbles are always my favorite find.
Art: “Orange Sherbet,” 2016 ('Secret' Beach, Massachusetts)