Was Isn’t The Same As Is

Was Isnt The Same As Is prose poem

Uploaded by Bill Peeler

Was isn’t the same as is, nor can now
Be the equal of then and likewise that which will
Is yet not yet, dividing in the first few seconds
Into myriad trajectories flung apart
At light years per second into countless separate
Paths that could have been
And thus we go our separate ways
One to the left, the other, right
Rent apart by the very gravity
That holds all things in its grip
Pulling us down by degrees into its long black maw
And draining the night of its stars and moons
Until all that remains is the dark backdrop
Of a very small and empty space
For instance, observe the young man
In the white shirt and tie smiling insincerely
For the woman holding the camera
She frames him for the split second it takes to capture
The image as if that moment were a kind of specimen
A collector might pin through the heart and put on display
He knows full well he’ll never love her
He’ll leave her for another lured away by pleasures
That might by chance be seized while there’s still time
Dropping her from his hand like a stone
The image is now and hereafter present
Faded and yellowing in an album
Stored in the attic of her life, locked away
In a suitcase year after year as if waiting for the train
At the end of time to come and take her away
Her fate lies sealed in scattered fragments
That lie among the lost and never found, brittle
With dry rot in the heat and cold of lonely passing seasons
And the man, having lived, grew old and bent
They buried him in the weed choked
Graveyard of a church in the mountains
Deep in Earth’s long memory

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Bill Peeler

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My wife, Noy and I are Protestant missionaries in Cambodia. We met in a border refugee camp in Thailand back in 1979 while I was a refugee relief worker. She was a refugee. I lived and worked in Mairut Refugee Camp for three years. We have three grown kids. I was drafted into the Army in 1969, served in Vietnam from 1970 to 1971 and honorably discharged at the end of my military obligation. Writing prose and poetry is how I document the life I'm living and how I map out the mental landscape inside my head.
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