Not Since Then


recorded author’s reading available below


Not Since Then

this turn down our country lane
I could make it in my sleep

so familiar

I anticipate every bend
and dip

they are welcome as a friend

like the sound of my tires
as they trundle ‘cross
the narrow wooden bridge
that fords the feisty brook

and coming round, I see
the corridor of faithful old-growth Doug’s
stepping back for me
inviting my return

guarding my safe passage
they sway — as if to celebrate
that I am back again

now — it’s left up our gravel drive
the pebble and crushed rock
crunch and clatter in stony rustle
as I traverse our hill

swing onto our concrete carport
pause – and key the engine off

all is silent – save the tick and popping
as the engine cools

this is my favorite moment
just before I open the door
to step up and approach the house
approach you

this moment of anticipation

knowing you are waiting, bathed and fragrant,
warm and soft – dressed in something that will whisper
welcome home my love —
I’ve missed you

then I take you in my arms, fall into your loving eyes
pull your willing body close
to wrap ‘round you, and drink you in – intoxicated

these moments melt into sweet love making
that continues until exhaustion

we both love when I return, from a business trip

but tonight
I do not key the engine off
I do not reach for the handle
do not open the door

I simply sit

you are no longer waiting – not in quite sometime
not since you lost your battle brave
not since I held you, that final time
your body still warm and soft

not since then

now my business trips are longer
my returns
fewer – and farther between.

• • •

rob kistner © 2008



To hear “Not Since Then” read by the author, CLICK HERE
note: Doug’s are Douglas Firs



~ by Image&VerseToo on May 23, 2008.

18 Responses to “Not Since Then”

  1. why does she stop waiting, what kinda battle that made her so?

  2. Hi Latree –

    Given this is poetry, you have license to create your own interpretation.

    Mine might be that the woman has died, perhaps from cancer — certainly something of some duration that she had to bravely battle, and that also allowed her husband to be there at the end — to hold her one final time. And now he is alone, and missing here dearly.

  3. This is rich in imagery, especially of the sounds, and heart-wrenching in its concluding verses.

  4. And I though the last poem was sad…oh what a painful punch this gave my heart!! ‘not since you lost your battle brave’ that line was very revealing to me and truly brought the agony home. Thank you for sharing this wonderful writing that can evoke such strong emotions with SS.

  5. very touching… but he has more beautiful memories to reflect on in this instance than many will amass in a life time,, and for that,, i know he is grateful…..

  6. I am moved by the sweet love and then the loss leaves me sad and with a feeling of loneliness, sad loneliness. A powerful poem.

  7. Bob..

    “warm and soft – dressed in something that will whisper
    welcome home my love –
    I’ve missed you”

    you know the simple words, speak a lot..I would love to return to such a home.

  8. In this sounds comes alive too. Truly awesome..

    end of the world for me

  9. You take me on this journey with you–literally and figuratively and my heart stops in a moment of silence for the loss in the end. Wonderful poem. Thanks for signing onto One Single Impression this week.

  10. I love the detail you provide in the approach to home. Your focus on hearing and feeling melt right into the emotion of the homecomings. Very nice.

    I see that you chose to use the familiar for Douglas Fir; do you find this successful? Do you get feedback that readers and/or listeners can’t figure out what you mean?

    Your poem made me hungry for the northwest forests. I guess I’ll get my fix when I visit next month.

  11. I read your poem a few days ago, and it stays with me for the strong emotion and very personal statement of love. The poem doesn’t seem to be so much about quitting as affirming what once was the center for your narrator’s life. The beautiful descriptions of coming home are truly blasted out by the loss of one’s own true love. I hope to avoid experiencing this for a long time, even as I know that we must face these kinds of losses, especially as we become older. One question: If the writer writes from experience, then the reader empathizes even more closely. If the poem comes from invention, is the poem any less “real”? Not for this reader. Thank you for posting a beautifully evocative poem.

  12. wow, this is powerful. emotional. tangible. its almost as though i’m there, feeling the loss and sympathizing with the final outcome. i especially like the line
    ‘guarding my safe passage
    they sway — as if to celebrate
    that I am back again’
    So vivid, and descriptive of the lover at home waiting…
    Thanks for this beautiful poetry

  13. What a joy to have that kind of love in one’s life. A bittersweet poem.

  14. What an exquisite, painful poem, so rich in love and sorrow both. Beautiful.

  15. Oh, so bittersweet, this poem. I knew the sorrow at ‘but tonight’
    and did not want to read it, but had to. I feel the heaviness of each movement he makes as he forces himself to return home again. So beautiful, this love.

  16. this was so poignant..lovely

    And So I quit

  17. a lovely tale of remembered love… it is good to remember…

  18. unfortunately i have known too many young women who have had to bravely battle cancer and leave their husbands and children. it is a picture that just breaks my heart.

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