Never by Stapleton Nash

Even if we never walk in a golden cornfield,

as I have pictured us doing many times,

and you never look at me and say the things

you already say, but meaning them differently—



even if I never find a place where voices can’t reach me,

and I never find out what reality feels like for other people

when they reach that place

that belongs to them and always will—

I have known what it is to love and wonder

and to feel the universe wrapping me in marvels.

Even on the coldest day in December

my hair wet and my socks thin

I felt something rise in me like molten gold.

Melting the stainless steel drum

that has long been a placeholder for a human heart.

Because of you, I know what it means

to walk through a park and scarcely breathe

as every tree leans down to embrace me

and bitter wind fills my coat like a sail

and I can scarcely breathe because

of the loveliness of my own feeling.

I know what it is to live as people live,

and not as dogs live;

I know how it feels to open my mouth

and swallow the light.

I do not speak here in the grammar of dreams,

with confusion and misplaced veneration,

with impossible hallways turning in on themselves.

I speak with the conviction of a poor beast

who has learned how to shut the door on fear,

who has learned how to walk upright and,

laughing, found it easy.

Even if I never walk with you in golden summer,

I have walked without you in December,

my hair freezing on my temples,

breathless to think of a future where

the sun rises, even in winter.

Stapleton Nash is a graduate of McGill University, where she studied English Literature. She has since been teaching English just outside of Taipei. In her free time, she writes.