on the page magazine

issue no. 7, spring 2002
home & escape


Lost and Found

by Estelle Padawer

When I was a little girl
Horses pulled the milk wagon and the
Fruits and vegetables wagon through the streets.
The sparrows picked out the oats
From the soft mounds the horses dropped
Before the street cleaner shoveled the rest
Into his wheelbarrow.

I was just learning to recite my address,
Practiced it even in my dreams.
Each time the street cleaner would find
Me wandering in Crotona Park.
I would tell him I'm lost and I live
At 14-98 Crotona Park East.

Gently this Chaplinesque man would
Lift me into his wheelbarrow
And wheel me straight home.
That must have been before
My mother warned me never
To talk to strangers.

Each night I'd replay
This comforting dream,
Which I've remembered
So fondly all these years.
Only now as I write
Do I realize what else
Was in the wheelbarrow.

In addition to writing poetry, Estelle Padawer leads a Yiddish Club, where her chief function is to prod the participants to "say it in Yiddish." Her poems have appeared in At Our Core: Women Writing about Power and Inside Grief: An Anthology on Death, Loss and Bereavement. She is a member of Bergen Poets.

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