But it was locked in a pink princess lunchbox.
It was encased in macaroni
strung across your neckline.
It was a marshmallow charm,
dried and sealed in a sandwich bag.
It was the star tip of a foil wand.
The crown jewel
in a tiara, glued and glittered.
It was trapped in a plastic pumpkin pail
of Halloween candy.
It was a chalk drawing
on the sidewalk.
It was a missing child.
I looked for it
in my poems, in my guitar case.
I turned the knob up on my radio
and listened for it in the crackle and pop
of my cereal and milk.
I even traveled to Costa Rica
and searched our beach hotel,
with my fork, I sliced a stack
of banana pancakes, hoping
to find it under the crisp layers
of fluff, all butter and syrup,
all fruit and sweetness,
all tropical, wet and heat
waiting for my mouth.
It wasn’t there either.
Then one morning,
there it was, in the living
room, holding a coffee mug,
unearthed by moons
dipping, churning gravel into buttercream.
Chris Menezes holds a bachelor’s in creative writing from California State University, Long Beach, and an MFA in poetry from Converse College. His work has appeared in literary publications like Switchback, RipRap, Goldman Review, Foliate Oak, Buck Off Magazine, and others. He currently works as a communications and marketing writer for a not-for-profit health plan in southern California, where he lives with his wife and dog and loves to surf and play music as much as possible.