Map of the Lost

By Miriam Sagan



Centered in northern New Mexico, this collection of poetry describes a series of journeys that create maps of place and memory. The poems travel south to deserts both mythical and real, east to childhood and the past, west to the Pacific and notions of Buddhism, and north to Alaska and a cold transcendence. Each section concludes with a return home where reflection charts locations and people lost to everything from the passage of time to urban renewal.

From Map of the Lost:

Take a Left at My Mailbox
Cross Sierra Vista and enter the cul-de-sac
Where the pavement ends
Cross over and down into the acequia full of trash
Where a sodden quilt lies in the middle of where
Stream once moved sand
In eddies. The homeless camp
Disintegrates, only one mattress left
And I'm lecturing my daughter
Who steps back to photograph it
"Don't come here alone,"
And she retorts: "I have since I was eight," and then
"It's so peaceful here, but
I hate the fence."
This is no arroyo, cut by rain
But a remnant of man, an irrigation ditch
Now watering detritus, the leftover, cast off,
plastic bags, and worse.
From here you can cut
Up behind the Indian School
Past the transformer I didn't even know was there
And come out where there once were tracks
Now just the runners half buried in soil.
It's Baca Street! We're back
In the neighborhood where my daughter
Immediately becomes lost
"I don't get straight streets," she says.
My money's good here, I buy two cups of foamy chai
And look in her face, turning from girl to woman
And want to construct
My map of the lost.

Subjects: Poetry

Contributor Bios
Miriam Sagan is the author of over twenty books, including her most recent collection of poetry, Rag Trade, and a memoir, Searching for a Mustard Seed: A Young Widow's Unconventional Story. She is an assistant professor in creative writing and advises the literary magazine at Santa Fe Community College.
V. B. Price is an award-winning Albuquerque journalist, poet, novelist, and teacher.