Approaching again the forest of regrets,
there is no way but through,
not a cliché but a mantra
repeated in the dark
repeated at the desk.
To tell stories well
is to tell two at once: the story
and the regret; the story and the discovery,
later, of regret. Or of joy, let it be joy.
All emotions are the same; they are secondary.
What matters is form and the form is familiar.
Don't break the wheel. Rely on it.
Crawl inside to watch the forest
tip over, right itself, tip over—
The action is humbling.
The story begins and ends in dust.
Blood and dust is mud.
Tears and dust is mud.
Sweat and dust is mud.
Let it be mud, then, along the way.
Eliza Griswold is a Nieman Fellow at Harvard whose first book of poems, Wideawake Field, has just been published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux. She is at work on her first nonfiction book, The Tenth Parallel, also for Farrar, Straus and Giroux.