Poetry Conversations

Every morning I read my friend Rosemerry’s poetry at her website, One Hundred Falling Veils. I met Rosemerry when we both did an urban studies program in Chicago during a fall semester of our college years. We worked with poet David Hernandez while we were there, and I learned so much about the rhythm of poetry back then.

But I digress. What I love about reading Rosemerry’s daily poem is that I often answer her back in verse form. That’s what I did today, borrowing a line from her poem. Thanks Rosemerry! Here it is!


You Can Never Go Back Again*


You’ve stopped wishing to go back—almost

—to that sound of both your bodies laughing hard

that hard edge of a friendship over

how you used to decide daily:

do I alter my daily school drop-off drive

to avoid her house?


You’d stopped wishing to go back, for sure,

to your brain on a loop

thinking of what you did wrong

that lead to the dead-end

the cul-de-sac you circle around

the same ending, always.


You’ve began trusting endings exist

ignore that silly quote about friendships

lasting forever, you make your own meaning

say hello when you see your old friend now

take her joy in, her new path

exactly where she needed to be: without you.


Trauma lasts for a season. You’re glad

to forfeit your role as witness during her sad time

glad happiness

rides with her now

even if you always thought

she’d help save you someday, too.


Save yourself, save yourself, save yourself!

You think this phrase all the time

knowing it’s true and not true

we all need a witness

as we climb out of the same old holes

again and again, our own legs so strong.


You can never go back

yet you go back all the time

hear that circle of laughter you created

with only this person

sweet porch song:

sing it and sigh.

-Nancy Schatz Alton, 11.7.2017

*Line borrowed from Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer’s poem “Inspiration

2 thoughts on “Poetry Conversations

  1. Nancy,

    what a great response poem, and I love the way your poem turns toward friendships and disappointments and self-reconciliation, arriving, where else, but in paradox, the truest place there is.

    Hugs to you amiga,

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