Advertisement to the Person Who Lifted My Wallet by Iris Litt

Since I hate you, I’m happy that
my identity is confusing.
I have a lot of different names.
I live in NYC 10014 and Woodstock, NY 12498
and, ha ha, an old card says I live in Forest Hills;
does this confuse you or did you merely take my $25,
tokens, and stamps and leave my poor identity
in a trash can or throw it like a body into the river?

About the credit cards: are you working your way
through my favorite stores? Getting new clothes?
Food shopping at the International Supermarket?
You can now attend meetings of Poetry Society of America,
Village Homeowner’s Association, or Village Democrats,
and get into MoMA, or drop in at Club Méditerranée
anywhere in the world; do you speak French?

I’m trying to remember the other dog-eared pieces of me.
Bits of prose and poetry. Things To Do. A recipe.
Names and addresses of little guesthouses by the sea; will you stay at them?
Lists of books to read; will you read them?

Do you like the registered description of my car?
An old blue/green convertible. Her name is Bluey-Greeny.
Can you see yourself gliding through my green landscape
with the sun on your face?
And the licensed description of me: 5’5″, weight 125,
eyes BR, hair BR, never in a mental institution, farsighted.
NY State doesn’t record how this height and weight are arranged
so there’s a photo of me; if we pass each other on the street
you’ll know me but I won’t know you.

So there’s an important favor you could do for me;
it won’t take much of your time. (I can imagine how busy you are.
How many wallets a day do you do?) You know all those names
and phone numbers on scraps of paper; could you
take a minute to mail them to me, the pink cleaner’s slip too?

I’d like to tell you that the police will find you
but when I described my wallet’s contents
all the sergeant said was: “Do you really use all those credit cards?”
I guess you knew that was what he’d say.

I want you to know that as the weeks have gone by
I’ve gotten my anger into some kind of perspective.
I’ve got new credit cards, and I can drive Bluey-Greeny
legally again. It’s just that for years I’ll be waiting
for those tiny dog-eared bits of info. I’ll be thinking,
It’s in that wallet, a poem, a friendship, a place, something
that might have changed my life. Your responsibility
is an awesome one. That’s why I ran this ad.




Iris Litt taught creative writing as an adjunct at Bard College and SUNY/Ulster. She attended Ohio State University and Universidad de las Americas, Mexico City, and obtained her bachelor’s degree.



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