When Soul Mates Meet

by Sara Backer

Two street lamps
light the parking lot
from opposite
directions.
The lot has emptied
down to your car and mine.
On the asphalt between them,
twin shadows overlap
and form a darker umbra
in the exact shape
of a canoe.

We step inside,
startling the fish.

Sara Backer, author of the novel American Fuji, has been honored with Djerassi and Norton Island Artist Residencies. In the past year, her writing has been published in Blueline, Ellipsis, The Pedestal, Gargoyle, Clockhouse Review, Cream City Review, and as a featured poet in Conclave: A Journal of Character. For more information, links to online work, and a cool slide show of Japan, visit her web site at http://www.sarabacker.com.

 

 

I so love the ending to this piece. Can you describe how you arrived at that ending?

    I wrote this poem in a Duluth dormitory where I was staying for a workshop led by Ted Kooser. The view from my window looked down on the parking lot. One night, I noticed the shadow between two cars formed an elipse with pointy ends. I took on the challenge of trying to describe that. I failed. The other poets didn’t understand how the shadow worked. I kept bringing drafts into workshop until I overheard one poet comment to another: “I’m so sick of shadows.” Hurt, I found myself missing my partner, whom I knew would immediately get my canoe metaphor. Then, I flashed on what I was really writing about: not an interesting shadow, but the magic of finding someone who understands your imagination. As a fan of Charles Simic, I wanted to make a wild surreal leap without rumination. I wanted my final image to contrast with artificial lighting and asphalt, to reveal an alchemy that defies all odds—something wondrously alive.
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