You Cannot Go Back

A simple thing: leave your wardrobe behind; you cannot go back.
One suitcase, one child, wonders and signs—you cannot go back.

I swear another hand counted the fare into a pile
in rhythm with mine: you cannot go back.

New gambles for old? Not since birth’s morning
as secret stars aligned—you cannot go back.

Lamplit galleries, fingers on charts tracing
bright arrows, foreshortened lines; you cannot go back.

It’s a one-way ticket through circular structures,
growth spiral staircases karma defined. You cannot go back.

Always forward, said one woman I met. She’ll be
a Perfect Master now in God entwined. ‘You’ cannot go back.

Someone told me, ‘It’s like a parade, Michele.’
The end? Nowhere in Mind. You cannot go back.


Michele Waering began thinking about the ghazal form through the poetry of Francis Brabazon and Hafiz. After further research led her to the work of Agha Shahid Ali, she thought she might try writing ghazals herself. She lives in Renfrewshire, Scotland. Her work has appeared most recently in The Interpreter's House.