Two Poems by Lois Roma-Deeley

For All the Little Lost

If today you should find yourself staring into the blue
fluorescent lights swinging overhead
at the Wal-Mart store, just leave
the half-full shopping cart
in the middle aisle. Go and find

the boy standing under a street light
looking up at his stolen shoes
hanging around the metal pole.
Tell him there will be other days

filled with unasked-for kindnesses, like a kiss
waking him from sleep. Now turn your thoughts

to sea flowers waving their tentacles.
Cast a spell in his direction.

What will it cost you?
Remember the cashier at the Circle K
who thinks you might have a secret life?
The one in which you’re loved and perfectly whole.

But you, Reader of Signs, know better.
Like the five pointed star tattooed over your wrist
or the three rings of bruised grass on which you stand
try to interpret the designs of each life,
the context of desire.

Open the Book of a Thousand Titles,
where vermillion snakes and indigo lions
wave to you from the edge of every page.
Study the illuminations….Like this

—oh just mouth these words—

reach into the future and take hold,
for whatever it is that comes for us,
like a lightning bolt striking open water,
don’t let go.


My Heart, A Broken Compass

When giant Saguaros lift their hallelujah arms
and creosote bushes weep sweetly
for the brief relief of monsoon rain,
I take to wandering in circles, my heart
a broken compass in a wilderness of despair.

Then before the sun rises, once again,
over Windgate pass, mercy notes
rise up from wide city streets,
float over the tops of olive trees
settling in the tallest branches.
And now I find myself

standing on a crowded sidewalk.
surrounded by familiar sounds,
the push and pull of steady voices
echoing in and around small shops
and mountain passes. The city hums—
but do I hear it?
better days are coming.


Lois Roma-Deeley’s poetry collections include Like Water in the Palm of My Hand, The Short List of Certainties, High Notes, northSight, Rules of Hunger. She’s published in numerous poetry anthologies and journals, is Associate Poetry Editor of Presence: A Journal of Catholic Poetry. and is Poet Laureate, Scottsdale, Arizona, USA.