I went back, as to my relatives.
by Ruth Stone
When I arrived, the elms had been shaved.
But you were all the same.
The buildings, the dry classrooms.
I embraced your eyes, your avenues.
You were fixed in the same expressions.
Your flat voices, your dental work,
like your lips, slipping over words already said.
Additional agricultural pamphlets;
many of you sat in private offices.
Why did I think I could drag it all back,
the former edge of town where
streets ended in fields under clouds
puffed like the French phrases
he kissed me with in the sucked-in breath
of that illusive happiness.
Coming back, listening, looking;
ready to take your bodies in my hands.
Returning to streets that had poured
heavy shopping malls
over the hay-sweet grass
where he and I lay whispering
the most important nonsense
of my desperate and embittered life.