Backward, Turn Backward [From BA 43-500]

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Backward, Turn Backward

by Stanley Noah

Quiet in this square, stained wallpaper room,

haunting low-toned mirror and slow

moving music dancing out the short ban

radio. My mind seems easily to walk

backwards the steps of years.

Then profoundly reality is repeating my

personal history with so many persons.

I lived through their faces, voices,

events like a movie. I do not need to meet

them as they are today as some memories

are sacred like fresh linen folded and

put away like rivers to the sea like beach

bone-dried sea shells waiting for

generations to be collected. Remembered

for what they were, and went like

stamps on letters, traveled. Just to be

put away in glass jars like red sweet jam

held to sunlight. You wonder beyond yourself

and with those who knew you as they are

constantly on edges, disappearing, again

and again, taking a little of you with them

as if until now you had never been here,

hardly lived, even known by others today.

Then fate like gravity soon has its way

of placing you alone in this room somewhere

in this hour. And the mirror you look into

is like an abstract image you cannot fix.

Becoming more invisible each time you

take a peek. You hate to cut the lights off.

Fearing next morning the mirror can no

longer hold you. It’s the quietness, isn’t it,

that makes you think of these types of thoughts.

Evan P. Schneider