Lost Boys

by Wendy Froud

With my name, how could I help it?

Wendy,

named for that very one,

that keeper of lost boys,

that little hausfrau,

happily cooking and cleaning and stitching their shadows

to their heels.

Wendy could do those things.

Is it any wonder that I knew, just knew,

that I could do the same?

And so the lost boys came

and I cooked and stitched and watched.

I told them stories and tucked them in at night.

I made them promise to be careful

and never talk to strangers

and they smiled and promised,

young and gay and heartless.

But every Wendy grows up;

and so I grew and flew away

and left them to their own devices,

promises on their lips and mischief in their eyes,

and I told myself not to worry

because lost boys are like that.

They did not grow up. Lost boys don’t.

They died.

One by one they loosed the stitches on their heels

and lost their shadows once again.

And it was not my fault.

It’s just that I wasn’t there, wasn’t watchful,

wasn’t Wendy.

There are more boys now, lost or not.

I cook and clean and stitch their lives together

and deftly sew my shadow to their heels.

I don’t believe their promises

and I never look too closely in their eyes,

but I leave the window open

and I keep the candle burning

and I clap and clap and clap

because I do believe.