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(Photo Credit: This poem was inspired by German artist Gabriele Schlesselmann‘s piece, Observation.  http://www.gabriele-schlesselmann.de)


Peter pressed the issue

About the past

He said it is a bridge

Collapsing behind

With every step

In space or in the mind

The sound of crumbling

Is all that remains.



Anna disagreed

And touched

The back of her head

She said,

“The past is braided

here next to my skull

interwoven threads attached

cascading down.”



The debate rolled around

Like a tumble weed

Dry and filled

With agitation and

With wind and

Picking up the dust

Of misunderstanding and of




“But I remember,”

Said Anna, and

“I do too,”

He whispered into

The air heavy with

Distance between

Her admission and his




Invisible walls

Erected between

Murky like swamp water

Disorienting like smoke

Thin like clouds—

And if he looked with only eyes

He would have turned away

Like fear.



In his imagination

He was strong

Moving along

The path in between

His hesitation and

Her vacillation

Conquering impending




Peter felt bolts

Screw through his feet

Into the floor

Caught between

Tomorrow and


The middle of the moment

Weighted like an anvil.



He felt like a clown

Tears rolling down

Behind a mask of

White painted on

A smile red


From the truth




Anna said a simple thing,

“You are afraid

of the future

and I run from

the past

maybe the middle

is all

we have.”



Something true

Like a bolt of lightning

Filled the room


Confusion to scatter

Like bugs or

Like demons

Who dwell in the dark.



They stood in the colors

That splash

Onto eyelids pulled down

After sunlight exposes


Leaving only

Shapes and pigments




Peter did the thing

That frightened him


And Anna met him


He stepped into the future

She let go of the past

From the middle she whispered,



copyright Jill Szoo Wilson


This is the song I listened to on repeat as I wrote this poem.  It is called “Samantha,” by Matthew Halsall: