Falling Back

by Maura MacNeil


You try to fall back into your past

when you drive through the flats and close your eyes

just for a second to find it outside of you

in that thin spit of land that hasn’t changed in years:


it’s the same boggy marsh and snapping turtle crossing,

the same ancient willows at the edge of the road

that for your lifetime has signaled the nearness

of a far away home.


You’ve become like the dying man who has

taken down his childhood bed from the attic

to dream through shortening afternoons

so that one place within might remain as it is—


As a child you closed your eyes and

often held your breath in the backseat

of your mother’s car on this tar patched road.


You believed this memorized landscape,

this knowing, would not allow you to disappear.


This poem was previously published in Ad Hoc Monadnock Online.


Maura MacNeil founded off the margins in 2013.  She is the author of  the chapbook titled A History of Water (Finishing Line Press, 2007) and a poetry collection titled Lost Houses (Aldrich Press, 2016).  She is a professor of creative writing and humanities at New England College in Henniker, New Hampshire.