8 – Pro Tempore

Derivations of the word RETURN:

early 14th century “to come back, come or go back to a former position”

from Old French retorner “turn back, turn round, return”

in Modern French retourner – RE-TORN-eh

Re-torn, maybe, as if to be torn from one place or the other?

So that when she says “You’re back” as in “You’ve returned”

do either of us consider that from which I’ve been torn…

or, alternately, if I about to be torn again into the tiny pieces

inevitable when one re-opens one’s heart?

I smile in that way that makes other people feel good…

knowing I have left a part of me behind, back there,

placeholding who I was — or who I thought came next —

knowing I cannot go back, but I cannot either return.

I am for the time being, time being what it is, here,

re-torn from everything I thought I knew, again.

Poem ©2019, Jen Payne. National Poetry Month #8 and NaPoWriMo poem. #NaPoWriMo. Pro tempore is a Latin phrase which best translates to “for the time being” in English. This phrase is often used to describe a person who acts as a locum tenens (placeholder) in the absence of….For more poetry by Jen Payne, purchase a copy of Evidence of Flossing: What We Leave Behind! BUY THE BOOK TODAY!