Nothing was ever straightforward with you
and so, instead of returning to where
I left off, I re-entered the poem
from afar – it hardly mattered where –
and eventually reached the same clearing
marked, I’d noticed, by the hands of time
held up in prayer, where I’d seen you before –
or thought I had – at the midnight hour
you rhyme yourself with. Page after page
the light would change, to dark and back again,
reminding me of someone who, when put
on the spot, knows the dance of gain and loss
by the secret fidelity of moving
from one foot to the other, to the other.
Notes on the PoemEven as she professes to be lost, Rachael Boast forges a path through the thoughts laid out with striking clarity in her poem "Losing My Page" from the 2014 Griffin Poetry Prize shortlisted collection "Pilgrim's Flower." This poem is definitely worth revisiting. In fact, it doesn't seem the narrator is the one who is lost at all, judging by the blunt opening line: "Nothing was ever straightforward with you" ... but she is resourcefully finding ways to regain her purchase and orientation, whether it's with a challenging poem or an equally enigmatic, perhaps even frustrating person. The narrator is patient and methodical though, trying different solutions and coping mechanisms, from coming at something from different angles to prayer. She remains optimistic, even as: "Page after page the light would change, to dark and back again" Finally, the "secret fidelity" of balance "moving from one foot to the other, to the other" seems to bring her to a fine, determined and satisfying conclusion.