Looking Back

Prompt No 7 at FPR was given by Simone Muench. She asked us to write an autobiographical cento.


write a cento that is a self-portrait, or anthology of your life, utilizing lines and fragments from your own work.

Here’s my cento using lines from my previous poems:

Looking Back

In the still waters, a still moon holds my breath swallowing me gently.
The night cannot be peeled away
It is in the yolk of my birth
Hurt chatters like broken dishes inside me
and the glimmer of love pass slowly away
Slowly I grow away from my shadows

Late afternoon,
I long for the same real meaning of life
long for the beginning of light
My real story is embedded
in all the things I haven’t done
and in the hypocrisy of all that I have

So much is adrift now
The votives of clattering flowers
yearn only for the chest of pebbles:
for things to happen just as they should

Do not speak to me of broken clouds now
or of crumpling thunder and cutting lightning
Nothing jarring
I don’t know how well I can hold my pain today

A tenuous calm has descended
cauterizing my tissues of guilt
And tonight, I am just like the night –
seeking something luminous over the horizons
tracing the sadness of stars with my eyes
locking marks of hurt in my heart

Recalling only the laughter
As you taught me how to inhale the scent of peonies from a photograph
before we became loose as sand going where absence took us
Tonight, allow me to paint with smoke
the fires with which I lived my life.


2 thoughts on “Looking Back

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