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Crossing the Barrier

as Amanda grew up

things become less and less simple


like looking for an exact shade

to describe mountain, sunrise,

surprise, a doe’s wet nose


or the right word to choose

to precede, or follow, or modify:

loving, leaving, longing, lonely,


…to cross the barrier: past

comprehension’s limits


so that after she packed her bag,

walked out on him, abusive, umbilical,

his cheek reddening into

remorse, recrimination, disbelief


she would be able to

describe tomorrow (and  in all

the years to come)

—to pinpoint

the exact shade of release, freedom,

reluctance, regret,

(even to herself)


—a tiny pain that once was

so enormous

(as complex as growing up)

when every pencil she reached for


was not quite as simple

as the shade she was feeling

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© Johnmichael Simon



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