please stay forever

emmit gowin


I have

lived in my own book.

One I never planned to write,

recording time backwards and forwards.

I have watched the snow fall onto the sea and traced

the steps of a traveler long gone. I have relived moments

that were perfect in their certainty. Fred buttoning

the khaki shirt he wore for his flying lessons.

Doves returning to nest on our balcony.

Our daughter, Jesse, standing

before me stretching out

her arms.


— Oh, Mama, sometimes I feel like a new tree.


We want

things we cannot have.

We seek to reclaim a certain moment,

sound, sensation. I want to hear my mother’s voice.

I want to see my children as children. Hands small, feet swift.

Everything changes. Boy grown, father dead, daughter

taller than me, weeping from a bad dream.

Please stay forever, I say to the

things I know. Don’t go.

Don’t grow.


Patti Smith