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RWB Workshop Poem of the Week—Nov 20

November 27, 2018

Arthur Russell

We Won’t Come This Way Again

We won’t come again to this grimace,
to this wax-covered place
where we fought ourselves and each other to a cold draw.
We won’t return to the bed we prayed to bring us together
or the workshop where I made shoes and you left food.
We won’t be married.
We’ll be deflated lawn Santas.

We won’t come this way again.
We bit our lips to cover our teeth;
we stared each other down,
yet the sap rose to the same signal
hidden in the February air. I scraped my knuckles
on the side of the well. You drove the scooter
to Newark in search of a ravine.
Our love was tuned
to a gray hair’s curl on a black sweater,
to a fear with a field so magnetic
it made tree rings
on the papers that you handed me.
We won’t come this way again.

Half of half of half of half of half,
the chain saw does its work.
How sad the roots will be when they find the trunk
is gone. Oh, the water that we drank!
And we thought only love could nurture duty.

Shoulder to shoulder, we saw the world
like a television show, but not each other.
One for the pain, another for the waste,
a third for the lockout, a fourth for the forgotten bliss.
Like stammering Egyptians spilling wine
in the rich silt of the Nile,
we won’t come this way again.

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