Touch: The Journal of Healing



Unable — Until

    By Howard Rosenberg

It’s been 40 years since we met by the elevator,

four decades since emotion overwhelmed reason,

swallowing reason as if it were Jonah.  It took

that time for me to re-view the event, to realize

how the following incident — and what effected it

froze itself in the core of my being.

Had he and the woman he was with, their hands

linked, she as similar as a sister — but not,

moved into my building, a flotilla of apartments

in a sea of high-rises?

Standing like talking stalks, waiting for the same

elevator, conversation consumed their attention.

They didn’t know who I was, why my eyes

ballooned in size.

Though morphed to man, I knew his name.

I could never forget the bully who mangled

my seventh-grade life, his never-smooth skin,

once fiery hair, and tongue that stung.

A dozen years, now yesterday.

Within the elevator, he and I, his wife and mine,

my mind drowning in rapids fueled by rage.

My past demanded war.

My feet froze.

If only I could glue the noxious thoughts staining

my memory into his and attach the fear I felt.

If only I could forgive …

© 2011 Howard Rosenberg

Howard Rosenberg is both a writer and teacher. His poems have appeared in Spitball, Vanguard, and Poetica. He teaches writing in a two-year college in New Jersey.

Copyright © 2011

Touch: The Journal of Healing

All rights reserved.