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
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“