The Lost Child

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Questions and Answers

What inspired “The Lost Child”?

I married late and had a hard time getting pregnant, but when I finally did and my first child was born (later I had another) he seemed totally familiar to me, as though I had known him all along. In this poem, I translated that sense that he had just been waiting to be found into a story about, not a baby being born after a lot of fuss and bother, but a child waiting patiently and confidently, knowing his parents would eventually discover his hiding place. The poem was first published in a collection called “Hide & Seek” (1995), named after its central metaphor.

What poetic techniques did you use in “The Lost Child”?

The language is slightly elevated because it’s a kind of fairy tale. I used a lot of long lines building to a kind of frenzy as the parents realize that the child is lost, and also to convey the sense of a long time passing.

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