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?
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