29 years later

29 years after I bound up and silenced
that voice
in my head/in my heart
or wherever it is
we carry love and defend it
even when it hurts us,

that voice coming
from the same place baby chimps
listen to as they cling desperately
to mothers
who shock them
repeatedly,
likely instinct gone toxic
but still hold tight to the
cold, sterile frame
doling out formula drop by drop
because it is all they have
for sure.

29 years later I looked for you
and found you posing,
still bearded, now silver
and white
instead of the brown
that was too long for respectability
but long enough to tug while we kissed

29 years later I find you smiling,
with a wife and daughter
and realize you didn’t stop in 1990.

You went on with it, as did I,
with new loves, children, dogs, cats, and poetry
crowding out the hours.

We kept living.

I wonder, if somewhere in your mind
where those baby chimps thrive
you also cling to me sometimes,
29 years newer, thinner
and much less grounded

Or if, unlike me
you moved past our love?

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About Susan L Daniels

I am a firm believer that politics are personal, that faith is expressed through action, and that life is something that must be loved and lived authentically--or why bother with any of it?
This entry was posted in New Free Verse and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

18 Responses to 29 years later

  1. Ugh. This. This really hits the heart hard.

  2. My my my! This is strong – had me in shivers. At once deep and cutting, at once personal and dripping with nostalgia yet at the same time so universal in theme and treatment – so many have walked these lanes. Joan Baez “Love song to a stranger” comes to mind as I read and re-read and eat and drink the lines you sang on paper with considered but heavy strokes and strikes on keyboard

    • Yes, we all have these old loves, the ones that don’t completely all the way fade. Though does it ever go away? All the way? I think not.

      Hope you are well.

      I miss your poetry, friend.

  3. Maggie C says:

    The love that’s not there. It’s tough to wrestle with that one, and definitely leaves many a question.

  4. I know this story in my own heart and mind and memory.
    Past love fossilized deep down inside the foundations of me
    Social media rewinds, re-wounds, scabbed over stigmata
    I bleed again from desire to have and to hold
    and muse ah if only we had been different
    ******
    See you inspire my muse again (I may riff off that some more…)

    Well done Susan. You’ve captured a truth we all hold inside.

    If I may offer a suggestion? The closing line I find the word “just” doesn’t work to my ear. I would simply remove the word. And that is just me 🙂

    I love the use of “unlike” and the social media nuance of that word

    Or if, unlike me
    you just moved past our love?

  5. There are moments born of sounds or smells or images we recognize somewhere deep inside, when I’ve often wondered this same thing…do you ever? Don’t know if this was your first true love, but if so, I too can wear this poem like the blanket of bittersweet memories it woven out of. I love it sfam and honestly marvel at the power your words hold. Brilliant my friend. xoxo

  6. Pingback: Poem: 02April | merlinspielen

  7. Oloriel says:

    So many lines and questions in this poem that I often wonder myself, and will wonder for years to come. A very touching, gentle yet striking write. Hope you are having a lovely day!

  8. Great stuff. Some people are useful a poetry subjects at least.

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