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approaching in reverse


after Ellen Bass

it’s not that i can’t write backwards, it’s that i can’t do it without thinking
of carson’s short talk on walking backwards. it’s not that
i can’t think back, walk myself back to & through the past,
it’s that i can never figure out how to write an undoing. it’s not that i haven’t tried—
i have no less than three scraps of reversal poems lamenting—
it’s that i’ve read at least four of tristan’s reversal poems,
& i don’t see the point in doing something if i can’t do it best.
it’s not that i don’t see the fallacy in that logic, i know
the benefit of doing something badly, of repetition being the cure
to the ailment that is failure, it’s just— i prefer one kind of failure
over another— i prefer the illusion of perfection &
the perfection of possibility before it’s explored.
it’s not that i’m unfamiliar with endings, i’ve known death all my life, & grief,
somehow longer, it’s that the only endings i acknowledge
are those i shape with my own two hands.
it’s not that every ending feeds into a beginning—
i have met finality & shook its heavy hand— it’s that the only thing
final enough to feel is the end of feeling anything.
it’s not that i can’t accept the duality or the nonlinearity or
the cyclical nature of time & truth, it’s that there are not words enough for me
to explain to you what this acceptance means to me. it’s not that
it’s too late to introduce you into this poem, it’s that you’ve been here
this whole time, it just took me a while to find you.

BEE LB is an array of letters, bound to impulse; a writer creating delicate connections. they have called any number of places home; currently, a single yellow wall in Michigan. they have been published in FOLIO, Roanoke Review, and Figure 1, among others. their portfolio can be found at twinbrights.carrd.co

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