In Their Own Words


This isn’t what I meant

When I said I wanted to go home.

This isn’t what I meant

When I said there was too much talking,

Too much grouping,

And I wanted to withdraw

Just for a little while.


Just a little while, I promise

An then I’ll come right back.

This isn’t what I meant

When I said I wanted my studies

To just be over.

This isn’t what I meant

When I fell asleep praying

For the Earth to heal.

I didn’t mean,

Force all my things into boxes

Almost two months early

And drive away from the city I lived in,

Never again to call it home.

I didn’t mean,

Leave my friends behind

Without even so much as a goodbye

Or a thank you

For the four years of growth

That they had given me.

I didn’t mean,

Take away the music,

My blue and purple,

90 Wellesley, Room 127.

I didn’t mean

Tear families apart,

One on one continent

And the other on another.

I didn’t mean

Cancel my convocation –

Years of hard work

With nothing to show for it.

I didn’t mean,

Even though dolphins are swimming

And the air and waters are clearing,

To keep everyone inside

Or else people would die.


I didn’t mean everyone should fear for their grandparents everyone couldn’t see their sisters and their cousins everyone couldn’t kiss their other halves everyone must worry about their family trapped abroad for everyone to either be too afraid or not afraid at all I didn’t mean


I didn’t mean to do

So many things

For the last time

Without knowing

It was the last time.


First published in The Soap Box Press’ blog, September 2020.

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Ris V. Rose

Toronto, Ontario

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