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from Tracy Chapman: Non Cover Covers


Side 1 Track 5

Years gone by and still Words don't come easily

After all the this and that,

I sometimes glance at her

face, as if I’m seeing

a stranger at a grocery store,

no history between us, nothing

to forgive, nothing to forget,

nothing to celebrate, nothing

to give me pause before reaching

for that box of De Cecco pasta

on a shelf, drop it into the cart

and move along down the aisle


when I’m suddenly overcome,

turning the cart, wheels

wobbling, unformed sounds

stuck in my throat, some

something I must’ve missed

on the scribbled list, something

I need to say, pushing past

shelves of tomato sauces in jars,

green Kraft Parmesan cheese

canisters like Russian nesting dolls


where she stands, maybe

waiting for me to catch up,

I don’t know, maybe words

stuck in her throat, I don’t know,

I don’t know, until the two of us

are facing each other, her fingers

on my rough cheeks, my arms

around her shoulders, the words,

all the words from all the years,

trapped behind our lips.


–SL, Port Royal, SC, March 2022


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