we can never go back


Nokyoung Xayasane

I went back once
to visit my old elementary school.

I remember the wide fields,
but there was only a small patch of grass.

I remember the brick and mortar
and all the rooms filled with light.

But now nothing.
The school had burnt down years ago.

There was no stray brick in sight,
no pole with a flag waving in the wind.

I didn’t get out of the car.
There was nothing there to see.

But there were those
endless golden days,

those Easter egg hunts,
margarine sandwiches in the late afternoon,

books upon books in the library,
messy high and side ponytails.

There was that boy crush
who finally held your hand.

There was a girl once who ran through
the fields, laughing.

There was that feeling
of needing nothing more than what we had.

That’s how it is,
the past, a dream we’ve made up.

We can never go back
no matter how hard we try.

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