Literally, this poem about the art of losing is quite easy to understand. The author uses some techniques like rhyme and pun to lead us think deeper. For the first and third lines of each stanza, the sound ends with r sound, and for the second line, the sound ends with t sound.
The speaker states her conclusion immediately in the first stanza. We have to keep in mind that a person has to gain things before losing them. Then, she says, "their loss is no disaster," because it seems like people are destined to lose things from the time they first own them. The first three stanzas state her present point of view. In the second stanza, her first sentence serves to surprise and teach us something about the art of losing. When I wonder what I lose every day, time and youth pop into my mind. She wants to let us feel how easy things can be lost unconsciously. Then she tells us how she has reacted when she loses her key, but her choices of words, which seem to have a hidden meaning, contradict with each other. It is hard to connect words like, "accept," and "fluster," together, because if something is a fluster, why should we accept pessimistically? It's because there is no other choice besides accepting it. This stanza invites readers to feel the same way by giving us the example that all of us have experienced. In the third stanza, in a relaxed fashion, the speaker suggests us to lose farther and faster. I think, "places, and names," mean the memories we cherish, and "where it was you meant to travel," means the dreams that nourish you spiritually. By the end of this stanza, I feel a sense of powerlessness.
In the following two stanzas, the speaker talks about her past experiences of losing. "Mother's watch," doesn't only mean one of her mother's possessions but I think it shows us that her mother is already gone. Therefore she is unable to feel or receive her love anymore. "Houses" in here can mean audiences like friends, whom she loved and who truly loved about her. I wonder what she means by "my last, or next-to-last." It might mean that she has lost everything except one, who is her lover.
The fifth stanza is a little strange because it is incredible for one to own two cities, two rivers and a continent. Probably it also means the past memories she has before going away from those places. When she comes back, everything that she knows to be true or beautiful has been changed into something unfamiliar.
"You," in the last stanza is her lover. In the same way she expresses her feeling toward losing, she pretends to be indifferent about losing the most important person for her. After losing so many things, she convinces herself that she should be used to losing, but she still cannot imagine that she is going to lose him. Perhaps, he is the last and all she cares for.
At first when I read this poem, it confuses me because I didn't understand why she is so indifferent. I asked my mom for some comments, and she says, "she is either pretending or she is not a human." So I think this is a kind of poem that you read when you are really depressed after losing important things, because it helps you PRETEND that you're OK. In this way, you can still have strength to face tomorrow.