Poetry: Walk Down These Roads

It’s been a little while since I felt like writing. I suppose that’s the thing with artistic inspiration, it’s a bit capricious at the best of times and abandons you entirely if you’re not paying enough attention. But like all good things, even a dry spell must eventually come to an end.

When I walk down the road here

I’m not just walking on tarmac or concrete or gravel

I’m walking in the impressions and obsessions of my youth

My underspent and underinspired feet that

Trudged through the landscape at a rate that should have felt

Interminable and slow and somehow unrushed

But instead somehow those years went faster and faster

Than all the ones since and I think that the trick that time has taught me

That it is possible to be happy in the smallest of places

And there is no monopoly on joy held by those who go to races

Or drink champagne at parties or sigh deeply in a stranger’s embraces

But I cannot help that when I walk down the road here

All those moments I missed out on come alive and move and make noise

They speak to me even as a mother speaks to me

Whispers in my ears of a flower shop here and a well loved church there

Knees in prayer at a garden bed and cook’s cottage

Where were you? They ask me over and over why I found

My way in the arms of another city and another love

You see when I walk down the road here

I spend each day and night retracing the steps I promised I’d take

When I found freedom and now that I’m here again

I’m found once again walking instep with a younger self

Stranger in a familiar city but underneath my footsteps

Moss and flowers grow behind me healing the cracks

I put in the land with old grief and I step lighter

Because maybe when I walk down these roads

I no longer walk them in part but in whole

And maybe I never left because maybe I was never here

Before me lies a very different path than the one I thought I’d tread

So different, that perhaps it’s a different girl treading it

Autumn’s flush into my lungs and through my bones and into my boots

When I walk down these roads

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