by JAN GROSS
I wax; she wanes.
I indulge; she conserves
I equivocate; she affirms
I tiptoe; she forges ahead
I waffle; she defies
I recoil; she stands her ground
I linger in the present; she fast forwards into the future
I tinker with phrasing; she cuts to the chase
My ideas are subtle; hers strike to the core
My prose is sprawling, her poetry is sparse
My words meander; hers pack a punch
Our negotiated friendship
between what keeps us apart
what draws us near
We live miles apart, but stay attached to what keeps us whole
We write as if our lives depended on it;
at times, they do
We freeze-frame our feelings, so as not to lose them over time
We transfix our double-helix selves in turns of phrase
Where poems, letters, and recordings authenticate our common ancestry
And lovingly braid together strands of different pasts, colors, and ages
Time presses; our grip tightens
on all that was
Time passes; threatening to leave us
But neither of us is free to give in or give up,
That other half would never allow it.
I know that she knows that.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jan Gross is professor emerita of French at Grinnell College where she enjoyed teaching the language, literatures and cultures of the French-speaking world. Her work explores how literature, film, and especially theatre, help us to imagine otherness. Based on an unlikely friendship marked by differences of age, career path, and skin color, she is currently collaborating with friend and fellow poet on a collection of poems, "Black, White, and Everything In/Between Us."
Share this Post