The drive from Georgia to New Jersey took at least 11 hours,
but we couldn't get to sleep that night. We'd been hearing stories all week,
women on stage reading workshop journals, poets closing fists
around a microphone, others showing slideshow narratives
of life's pulverizing lessons. "This is who I am," they were saying. "This
is where I'm from," and we sat in the audience, blinking back tears.
At home at last, we fell, exhausted, into bed, but in the dark
the stories came circling back, repeating themselves like the verses
of a new song that won't let go, and we wept again from what we'd heard,
our bodies bearing witness in the way our language never could.