Thursday, January 26, 2012

Jet Lag

Jet Lag

There are so many selves these days,
living in many places at once.

When we travel, we leave a self back
at home, to remind us what we

would be doing if we wouldn't have left.
The traveling self receives

the thoughts of the one at home, as if
over a baby monitor,

feels unstuck from time. Yesterday,
I answered the phone

and spoke to Kathy. Sorry, who is
this, I asked, and she

said, Kathy, your across-the-hall
neighbor in number 4.

Not neighbor, actually, not for a year,
and a couple thousand miles

away, several states. It’s easy to
forget where here is,

when now is. In my Twitter feed,
hundreds of people

who live in places I have left, telling
me about the clouds

and mild temperatures, and out the
window here, clouds,

no snow. The town you return to is
only partially the place

itself. Your memory sketches over
it, like architectural plans

in reverse. It is still what it used to
be to you, every version.


  1. I used to notice in airports that I saw what I came to term as "Alternate Life Kristins." There's the Kristin I would have been if I had had children, there's the Kristin I would have been if I had gotten a law degree instead of advanced degrees in English, and so on. I love your view of jet lag here, and remembering Alternate Life Kristins I have known. Thanks for the poem.

  2. Beautiful artwork by Bentley. I like to think of the relation of how the painter sees to what the poet writes.

    Great title that holds the tension between speeding forward (though sometimes while still being in place, i.e., going nowhere) and holding or being held back. Again, the perspective on perception and the role of memory (what and how we choose to remember, or forget) serve your poem well. I especially like how you draw the piece to a close.

  3. I had a feeling of mild confusion reading this, sort of like I feel when I have jet lag. I love this line: "Your memory sketches over
    it, like architectural plans in reverse."

  4. Really enjoy this poem, Hannah. Good work. I can relate on so many levels. I feel I've got to hop on another plane right about the time my body and mind have adjusted from the last trip! Between the two places I travel, there is "home" somewhere.

  5. So true ...have missed reading you due to incredible amount of work...I do feel suspended in between places all the time....xx

  6. i can not, for the life of me, understand linear time.

    i love this especially and the disconnect,
    The town you return to is
    only partially the place



  7. I feel this sense of multiple selves, yet somehow related; and as I leave today for a short weekend trip, all of my selves will travel with me, some receding, and the more natural me moving to the forefront; and the places I visit will include all of my memories as well as the reality. Without your poem, I don't think I would have thought of this. Thank you, Hannah, for your insight, and your ability to express your thoughts and impressions beautifully.


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