Taking Leave

from opposite sides
of the train window we are
balanced on the edge
of separation the glass

uncouples voice
from gesture we are
disarticulated you

are frozen on the receding
platform guarding the negative
inside the camera in which

i have never been allowed
to leave the station

in which i have forever
surrendered impetus
to implication

Questions and Answers

What inspired “Taking Leave”?

“Taking Leave” was written for a first year university Creative Writing class that I took with Robin Skelton. I was not assigned any particular topic or form—I just had to bring a poem to the seminar for that week. I do remember that the inspiration for the poem was having to say good-bye to a girlfriend at a train station, though the particularities of that event, other than what appears in the poem, are now forgotten. However, at the same time that the poem describes an incident personal to me, I did want the poem to be able to speak to anyone who had experienced a parting with someone, no matter what the situation.

What poetic techniques did you use in “Taking Leave”?

I don’t recall that I had any specific techniques in mind when I wrote the poem. I do remember, though, that I was very concerned with rhythm and with sound, and with how they both reflected and determined the content of the poem. There is a certain kind of onomatopoeia in such words as “disarticulated” and “impetus” and “implication,” though I wanted that particular technique to be more subtle than blatant.

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