James Island

by Richard Vince

A name on a map helps me to find
A bridge I picture in ugly, inelegant concrete
When I think back to an old exercise in
Vanity: idealised autobiographical tales
Shrouded discordantly in imagined names.

Her stories tried to steer away from clich├ęs
In exactly the same way as so many others,
Yet I fell for them as I fell for her.
I talk of her now as I would an elaborate
Confidence trick, but I think she fooled
Herself as much as she fooled me.

Some of what she told us I chose to
Believe, my doubts masquerading as
Mere projections of my insecurity.

Protestations of hatred towards a boy
Who let her read his literary vanity
Come back to me for the first time
This century, along with surprise
That I am thinking of her again.

I hope she has grown out of
That emotional immaturity that was
The only thing we really had in common.
I have, but I have retained the guilt
That I have never been certain
I should feel for all those things I said
For want of knowing better.

If she was able to follow her dreams
She will be a thousand miles from
That bridge now, but I am unable
To follow her across to the peninsula;
For me the bridge turned to ash years ago.


Posted on 04/08/2007
Copyright © 2022 Richard Vince

Member Comments on this Poem
Posted by Alison McKenzie on 04/08/07 at 06:35 PM

Poignant and beautiful.

Posted by Laura Doom on 04/14/07 at 11:34 PM

Burning bridges - a classic, almost classical metaphoric undertone spanning the body of retrospection that flows with subdued turbulence throughout this microcosm of human fallibility. The 'her' and 'his' attributions, for me, epitomised the impression (and practical reality) of distance between past and present.

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