top of page

"Momentarily Neither Here Nor There. Until We Are." by Laura Cooney

I sit,

You sit,

We sit.

You’re talking,

I’m listening.

I can clearly see your lips moving and I can hear the individual words you’re saying and my brain is processing them but much slower than normal, it feels like what you see when you turn the handle of a Victorian fairground zoetrope. My brain absorbs, the words flicker, in and out. Out. Out.

The naked lady undresses again and again but I can only imagine her shape.

Say it again.

You’re talking,

I’m listening.

Once it sinks in and I’ve held my head in my hands again all I can say is,

“I don’t know”

Which is a lie, I do know. I know exactly.

But we’ve just entered that part of the poem where the stillness occurs. The stillness where decisions are made.

Once you decide, it’s usually over. No comeback. So it needs to be good.

So here we are. There. At that point.

I feel like I’m still wearing my coat, which makes me laugh. Because I’m not and you are.

So, in the stillness where decisions are made. There is a choice. Choose your own Adventure is it? The books of youth didn’t cover this. Who did? Who does? Help!

One more time.

You’re talking,

I’m listening,

We’re still sitting.

You’re saying the same thing. Again. With that sultry doleful look in your eye and I cannot…

But you’re over there and I’m here.

Maybe proximity is the answer.

If I’m here and you’re here then maybe the words will come.

Maybe the thing that I don’t know, I’ll admit I do know.

And there it is. Step A. A minor decision, but a decision.

And it turns out that we don’t need words.

Everything we need to say is in our mouths, but we’re not speaking.

Our hands are also talking, voraciously.

The naked lady is undressed.

So I’m here and you’re here and now we’re not sitting. You’re not talking but I am still listening. If listening is feeling and my heart is all I can hear in my ears.

And I find that I can’t breathe, but that’s ok because I’m definitely alive. Alive.


I’m talking and you’re listening and then you’re talking and I’m listening and it’s easier than it’s ever been.

The unsaid thing that was never spoken has itself spoken and while I’m still unclear

exactly how. It exactly doesn’t matter.

I sit,

You sit,

We sit.


A word from the author: A poem about the distance between us, closing the gap and the space in time where the thick pause occurs. The space where decisions are made.

bottom of page