November Poem by Judith Slater
It’s been a rough month, kind of – weather destroying much of the shore and displacing family and friends alike. It’s turned colder, and this turned up in my inbox today from American Life in Poetry, and it spoke to me. Sometimes you want to run away, but then, you realize you want the very things you’re running from, and turn back…
Four weeks in, quarreling and far
from home, we came to the loneliest place.
A western railroad town. Remember?
I left you at the campsite with greasy pans
and told our children not to follow me.
The dying light had made me desperate.
I broke into a hobbled run, across tracks,
past warehouses with sun-blanked windows
to where a playground shone in a wooded clearing.
Then I was swinging, out over treetops.
I saw myself never going back, yet
whatever breathed in the mute woods
was not another life. The sun sank.
I let the swing die, my toes scuffed earth,
and I was rocked into remembrance
of the girl who had dreamed the life I had.
Through night, dark at the root, I returned to it.