I keep losing the things that are mine
and holding onto the things that aren't;
I can't leave the past behind,
and I can't keep love in my heart.

Or, I can't keep the paycheck in my pocket
at work—I say, "If I don't get this out,
it will melt in my pocket." Lee, the other
employee, asks, "Is that some kind of sick pun?"

That was yesterday, last night, in the dark.
My paycheck is still stuck on the side
of the microwave there, with three magnets.
Today, I sit downstairs reading Paradise Lost

about how grace finds man, not
vice versa. And, last night, when I got
home from work there were three
girls in the two rooms, courtesy

of my three roommates. They all left so soon
that I scarcely could remember every word
that one fine "Mary"-or-"Corey"—and I said
later, in bed. Now, I am upstairs writing

this, and Paradise Lost is downstairs;
my paycheck is still up at work,
and I'm still alone here. I live here,
but it's not my home—and yet I feel

that I can't find what I lack on my own.
And if I get what I deserve before it's mine-
still, it's not mine if I can't hold it.


Robert Wooten