Poem-A-Day Challenge: Day 6

April is National Poetry Month so I’m tackling the Writer’s Digest 2019 April PAD Challenge hosted by Robert Lee Brewer.

Today’s prompt: Take the phrase “After (blank),” replace the blank with a word or phrase, make the new phrase the title of your poem, and then, write your poem. 

Photo by Roman Mager / Unsplash

Photo by Roman Mager / Unsplash


It’s been ten years since everything between us exploded
and by all accounts
we should be healed.
Not that anyone will say it, mind you.
But I see the calculation in their face so I don’t bother explaining the ways
we still come up short.
Truth is, I once assumed the same equation.
But that was before we started walking this pocked road, before I accounted for
all the freight we were forced to carry.

Now I know, for example, about loyalty—
how it can be a debit and a credit. That there is a hidden cost to
both the staying and the leaving.
And yes, I’d always heard that the shortest distance between two points is
a diagonal line,
but nobody ever told me how to measure the distance between forgiveness and trust
or how to figure out if contentment is greater than or equal to love.
And all the instruction on common denominators
doesn’t answer the question “NOW is what fraction of BEFORE?”

I haven’t even mentioned all the complicated geometries,
the attempted measuring of every angle and the discerning of the shape of things.

Of course
congruence is just an equation
and any equation worth its salt deals with R, i.e., real numbers, i.e., the actual facts, like
(specific) + (specific) + (specific) ≠ happily ever after.
But then again what textbook is going to tell you that God = restoration
so there you have it.

All I really know is that numbers can only explain so much, not the tender gravel of his
voice in the morning or his sincere attention to my cascades of words
and certainly not the steady accumulation of days, i.e., fidelity, i.e., not-infidelity.

So this number—ten (as in years)—
yes: it’s both rational and irrational. I have chosen—still choose—
him. Us. We.
We will relentlessly solve for x.

And I know what they’re all thinking: parallel lines never intersect.
But Euclid can’t tell us what to do—we’re not some 2D plane, we’re geodesic, thank you very much—
and we will draw together eventually, even if it’s near infinity,
even if we never really intersect,
we just seem that way.