A Poem for National Poetry Month

An Apology

To the young man I loved 35 years ago
I would like to say I am sorry.
You said we should get married.
My first thought was, “You’re kidding?”
not a positive indicator.
I knew instinctively it wouldn’t work long term.

But after I left, I missed
things about our time together:
going out at two a.m. for grilled cheese
at the 10th Street Diner, watching every scary
Roger Corman movie, your huge empty loft
with just a mattress on the floor,
the off color cartoons you drew in my
anthropology notes to surprise me in class.
And alley walking; getting from river to river in Philly
via just alleyways, using big streets only to keep going.

I would have liked to have been kinder,
less abrupt at the end,
explained that deep intuition
made it impossible to stay. I hope that
when you look back it is not with resentment
but are able to enjoy the memory too.

by Leana McClellan

About a month ago, my mom and I were talking about ended relationships. I was expressing my feelings of longing for elements of my last relationship, while also being grateful that I was no longer in it. I was having trouble making those two feelings coexist. She confessed to me that she understood, having remembered those feelings from the relationship she had just before she married my dad. That conversation spurred her to write the poem above.

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