I wonder what I would have written
had I stayed in the orchards
east of glacier-clad mountains

where water in irrigation canals
rather than rainfall
let us harvest asparagus and apples
in that desert

but now, back east
I still pick asparagus and apples
though everything’s different


the places I’ve lived
resemble long-lost lovers

if I return, their faces
won’t be what I knew

even if they were still there
or their children were mine


why haven’t I gone back?
(the magic?)
(or nomad?)

how many were intended to be longer?
(Yakima. Warren. Even Dubuque or Leonard Springs)

how many were awaiting something else to happen?
(Bolton Hill. Merrimack River. Wellington Hill)

or simply a camp?
(Owing Mills. Susquehanna and Hawley streets)
(the university, twice)


I sit down to write, intending
the page to go one way
but, perhaps later, sensing that’s not quite
right, it wants to go another
direction or style and I’m obligated
to let it go, while all I can do is follow
at best, step by step, like a parent
watching it grow bigger before me

 poem copyright 2016 by Jnana Hodson




    • Casting this more as questions seems a good way to go. I’m still reflecting on how often I’ve been uprooted along the way, just as a new round of work was about to flower.

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