The Things We Don’t Get Over

Like the ankle sprain in high school
that returns in your fortieth year
or the ex-lover who pops up
in the obituaries when
you are grayer than ghosts,
we have these records sorted and
filed away, of every bruised bone
or wounded heart, each exhibit
cataloged and boxed, stashed,
only to find them spilling out
to us, like the memory of your
first dog, years ago,
scratching at the door,
wanting back inside.

Robert L. Penick’s work has appeared in over 100 different literary journals, including The Hudson Review, North American Review, and The California Quarterly. He lives in Louisville, KY with his free-range box turtle, Sheldon, and edits Ristau: A Journal of Being. In 2018, he won the Slipstream Press chapbook competition. More of his writing can be found at