Passage II

Susan Laughter Meyers

There is a language of torn spider webs,
          not webs precisely but strands

swagged limb to limb, a scribble
          of small, lingering trusts—erasures
no longer translatable. What’s missing,
          on any given day, we want to reconstruct

as if it’s possible to backtrack
          to shoes our feet no longer fit.

The erasures are nights without stars
          and grayest mornings when the wish

is for nothing more than what we cannot have:
          the aimless old hours, the rock behind our back

slipped blindly—left to right, right to left—
          into the school of one hand,

and all the children at their desks in the classroom
          of our moments-ago lonely childhood.

We don’t want our childhood back
          with its beast under the bed.

No, we want what the chalkboard had, its mystery
          of letters like the ones we strung, one by one,

onto wide-lined paper, the fingers of the smart hand
          cramped around a fat pencil

shaping that acrobatic alphabet, wild and looped
          and leaping from eye to tongue to hand.



Susan Laughter Meyers, of Givhans, SC, is the author of Keep and Give Away (University of South Carolina Press), winner of the inaugural SC Poetry Book Prize, the SIBA Book Award for Poetry, and the Brockman-Campbell Book Award. Her poetry has also appeared in The Southern Review, Beloit Poetry Journal, and other journals, as well as Poetry Daily, and Ted Kooser’s American Life in Poetry column. Her blog is at