A Kind of Villanelle

By Joyce Sutphen b. 1949 Joyce Sutphen
I will have been walking away:
no matter what direction I intended,
at that moment, I will have been walking

Away into the direction that you now say
I have always intended, no matter what my
intention was then, I will have been

Walking away, though it will not be clear
what it was that I was leaving or
even why, it seems that you will say

That always, I was walking away,
intending a direction that was not towards
you, but moving away with every step,

Or, even when I pretended to be walking
towards you, only making the place
for my feet to go backwards,

Away, where I will have been walking,
always away:   intention and direction
unknown, but knowing you will always
say I will have been walking away.

“A Kind of Villanelle” from Coming Back to the Body by Joyce Sutphen. © 2000 by Joyce Sutphen. Used by permission of Joyce Sutphen and the publisher, Holy Cow! Press.

Source: Coming Back to the Body (Holy Cow! Press, 2000)

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Poet Joyce Sutphen b. 1949

POET’S REGION U.S., Midwestern

Subjects Relationships, Living, Separation & Divorce

 Joyce  Sutphen

Biography

Joyce Sutphen grew up on a farm in Minnesota. She earned a PhD in Renaissance drama from the University of Minnesota, and has taught British literature and creative writing at Gustavus Adolphus College in Saint Peter, Minnesota. Her first collection of poems, Straight Out of View (1995), won the Barnard Women’s Poets Prize. Subsequent collections include Coming Back to the Body (2000), a Minnesota Book Award finalist, Naming the . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Relationships, Living, Separation & Divorce

POET’S REGION U.S., Midwestern

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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