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I saw a woman sitting at the Preston and Grady bus stop yesterday. She was patting her new corn rows, and I thought she was you. Could it be that simple? Years are gone and in a moment you are back with us? I almost called your name. She turned fully toward me and smiled. I forced down a mouthful of machine gun regret, as I turned from this stranger’s friendly gaze.

Where are you?

You who walk in beauty when beauty is not easy, pretty, or popular.

I wonder what you were like as a child. I don’t want to ask your grandmother or your father. I want the stories to fall from your full lips onto my crooked ears into my soul kitchen where the bitterest fruit is a pineapple. My mother remembering the sores and rashes from the Dole cannery of her childhood would never eat them. She was a lost girl too, abused and not believed. She became lost inside herself.

They say lost children never grow up. They are whisked away to magical spaces where time stands still and nothing happens that a hug cannot resolve. People like you and I are not whisked anywhere. We take the long walk home. Weightless, you glide fly.

You are a butterfly–done with the dreams of wings. You are now a lost woman.

What happens to you, lost women, who are not cared for by members of the board or council members–the important, the more than, the rainmakers?

Who goes into the night to bring home the lost, when few are committed to finding them?
The night you left, your family shattered into separate, desperate shards. People are now pierced as they struggle to gather the intricate pieces.

Charlottesville, if I told you some are broken–depressed, angry, sick, tired, struggling to breathe, would you keep a candle in the window for our lost woman? Or would you lock it and draw the shades, pressing to your untroubled hearts those more like you, those more liked by you?

Charlottesville, do you don the dreams of the unaccused, of the rich, of the lilies?
What of the lotus? She springs from the muddiest bog, blooming not when convenient or safe, but when the need for outward movement overcomes the fear of the unknown.

Charlottesville, what keeps you inside, apathetic, pro quo, middle?

A middle without a compassionate center forms a black hole sucking out light and love, the lily and the lotus alike–but not alike.

We find, cry for, grief the lily.

Where are you? Where is our lotus girl?

Arms closed, hands clenched, we can only reach for what we already carry. . .

A girl now woman shaped empty box. The empty box gets bigger till we can no longer see the edges. And, we forget anyone is missing, we are lulled down to lily death sleep once again. Gnashing our teeth in gratitude for one day more. Another day without her, another day of unknowing.

Into nothing, she walks, runs, drinks, dances–undulating power of the different and obscure.

She sings, her voice is one of many. Hundreds of lost women join her–the color, the meat, the beginning.

The sister, daughter, granddaughter, aunt, niece.

The missing piece.

Years gone.

We know of her case, her story, her dilemma, but do we know her laugh, her scars. . .

The summer silent sun begins to bleach the grass. Here’s another summer without you.