A few months ago I felt brave enough to go to open mic at the Portland Poetry Slam to tell a story that I have been telling myself for years now. After the event, my housemates pestered me for the video recording of it, which I refused to show from sheer embarrassment, but at least one person asked instead to simply have a copy to read. And when I sent it to her she told me days later of how my words had been stewing inside her head. I love that and want more chances for my words to stew. This is my voice:

When I was a teenager I used to read this online magazine called Found!

It relied on readers to send in random objects, such as photos or notes, found on the street or in books or wherever these objects found themselves resting in the world.

I was always enamored with the idea that something lost had an undiscovered story behind it. That faces in photos could have names associated with them that I didn’t know.

It elicited the detective in me.

I would walk slowly on the way home from school scouring sidewalks and park benches for anything I could send in to the magazine.

I wanted to be a finder and keeper of lost stories.

I rarely found items in my teenager years and if I did I forgot about the magazine. I was too busy trying to guide everyone but myself back home.

Like Wendy and her lost boys.

I think I have been lost for years and not even known it.

Like a kid on the wrong train, headed somewhere, recognizing signposts, but not getting to where she needs to go.

Everyone here is trying to push their way through the fog of uncertainty;

trying to tie their dream cloud to their wrists so it doesn’t get lost in the crowd of people.

I’ve had people pull me over, on my way down the highway to darkness, and tell me that up ahead is an exit sign to greatness and they’ve seen me take it many times in a vision.

Been yelled at for constantly abandoning the temple my soul resides in.

How can I not leave behind a shell to the ever increasing art installation of losing ground when everyone else is?

Washed up and resigned.

I want to write letters to you.

Or tap your shoulder to spin you around.

Tell you that this direction is an infection.

Tell you to not live the life I have lived for the past twenty-six years.

That sometimes floating is just drowning above the waterline.

Please swim.

I want to see you jump the right train propelled no more by fear.

I want to see you pour your soul out though your throat so you can see the stars inside and drink it back up into your eyes like the Milky Way.

I want to see you come back with soles left on your shoes and steam left to pour me some tea.

I think you are lost and don’t know which stop to get off at.

Because it’s cloudy and crowded.

I have lost so many wrists to the slippery slope of going nowhere and I want your hands back in mine.

Do you know that feeling when you’re walking where every footstep gains momentum in your body and you probably could run right off the gulf and onto the sea and across to the U.K. like some high speed Jesus; full of fear?

Don’t you wish that you could run so fast that you split into two where, like Newton’s Cradle, when you meet again the other you gets knocked into the opposite direction and eventually (when you are tired and soft enough) you meet yourself full force and all your atoms are rearranged when you come together?

There is a waterfall of heartbeats flying out of my body.

My heart is grafted with gold.

Kintsugi in my chest.

Precious metals filling cracks in my skin.

Every time I shatter I don’t think I can be put back together again and I am.

And every time I get lost I don’t think I can be found again but I am.