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Alan Walowitz

Alan Walowitz photo to Sheila-Na-Gig 11-18

Alan Walowitz ( has been published various places on the web and off. He’s a Contributing Editor at Verse-Virtual, an Online Community Journal of Poetry, and teaches at Manhattanville College. His chapbook, Exactly Like Love, is in its second printing and is available from Osedax Press.

System Restore

A feature in Microsoft Windows that allows the user to revert their computer’s state . . . to that of a previous point in time, which can be used to recover from system malfunctions or other problems.

Given the rate of decay–
memory, word-recall,
such a small percentage
of what we’ve loved remains
intact, even as we look in the mirror
and examine the lines on the graph that is our face,
or study photos of who we’ve been
before parts had been removed
and then the body stitched back together
though never again made truly whole.
No wonder we’ve come to rely
on System Restore to find that one place
from the great and false imagined past
where we can settle in and promise ourselves–
and everyone we’ve ever loved–
that this time we’ll try that much harder
to make everything right.


I walk upstairs carrying the laundry
that’s been stalled in the basement for days;
this time no one’s to blame.
You walk to the family room
where you’ll put on but ignore the news.
Later, I’ll go out and shift some leaves from side to side
and you’ll come to the kitchen and chop some greens.
Once, we’ll pass through the same doorway
and, though it might seem awkward for a moment,
we, ourselves, pay no mind to seems.
I will let you go ahead,
out of the habit with which I was raised.
One of us might laugh—

we have lived in this house many years,
have often complained the doorways are too narrow;
the ceilings are of different heights
which have been known to cause
a certain disorientation in some who visit,
and sometimes in those who stay;
the rooms are too small, others would say—
still, we’ve called this place our home.

There will be a moment later when
I’ll head to the john and look in on you
and you won’t look up from the paper.
I might even be relieved.
After this– all this– I say to myself
I want to settle somewhere just right
and finally write a lovely poem,
a poem that sings forgiveness
and the pleasures of arriving at an age.
If you’re thinking I won’t know how,
you never manage to say.

Stress Test

One thing about a treadmill
is you don’t get anywhere,
but you do it rather fast.
And if you stumble, as I’m prone to,
never quite capturing
that left-right-left-right rhythm—
lub-dub, lub-dub, lub-dub–
you might get to see the doc a lot quicker
instead of waiting for results
with a roomful of less-than-perfect strangers
pretending to be engrossed
in Cardiology Today.

The med-tech, she warned me,
that I’ve got to keep up
or fall off the back of the hay truck.
That’s the way she talked, this country girl
I kept flirting with to keep my mind off my heart,
moved to the big city to make her way,
but here she is with me,
stuck in another chilly room
without a single window to look out of
and onto any part of the world
I’m an hour closer to leaving, and she–
after too long a time with the likes of me–
might actually enjoy getting to know.

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