_____ [12] – v. to be provoked to tears by a sensory trigger before your brain even registers why you are crying:

After the funeral, her friends grew accustomed to her unpredictable bouts of _____[12]ing. They began driving her places because they feared her_____[3]ing could cause her to crash. 


_____ [42] – n. date that a person becomes older than a loved one who has died:

The _____[41]‘s_____[22] s grew louder and more agitated as the days crept closer to the _____ [42] for her older brother.


_____ [19]  – n. family or community that forms in wake of tragedy:

When the _____[81] started, she became more grateful for the _____ [19] who were able to share her grief.


_____ [48] – v. (becoming obsolete) to call the answering machine of a deceased person:

The semi_____[74]  could momentarily pretend that her mom was going to come back home soon each time she _____[48]ed.


_____[66] – n.  seemingly inconsequential decision that is later discovered to have drastically pivoted the course of someone’s life:

When the flight attendant agreed to fill in for a sick crew member, no one realized that this _____ [66] would get her killed. 

NO GOING BACK, a reversible text written by Barry Duncan illustrating _____[66]

Reversing past mistakes? Difficult. Some are so painful. Regret bitter. Memories too vivid. Disappointment deep. Wounds still hurt. But can’t I go back? Sadness is life now. Then change! Can’t you understand? To begin again. Start over. It’s possible, isn’t it?

Return to how it was. Easy enough. Far back. Gone. Before friends crossed. Bridges burned. Letters sent. Words? Angry, too. Hope faded. Before all that. After then, it was when everything changed. That one decision, one that changed everything. When was it? Then, after that, all before faded. Hope, too. Angry words sent. Letters burned. Bridges crossed. Friends before: gone. Back far enough. Easy, was it? How to return?

It isn’t possible. It’s over. Start again? Begin to understand: You can’t change then now. Life is sadness. Back? Go? I can’t! But hurt still wounds deep. Disappointment vivid, too. Memories bitter. Regret painful. So, are some difficult mistakes past reversing?

Originally commissioned and presented as part of Monkeyhouse’s piece,

BACK GOING NO GOING BACK, at Springstep in Medford, MA in 2013


_____[1] – n. place where a deceased person was last seen alive by the speaker:

She did not register where her brother’s _____[1] was until she passed it and was _____[12]ed.

a multicolored brick section of a sidewalk

Field recording and photograph illustrating a  _____[41]‘s brother’s_____[1]

(Recorded on the sixth anniversary of their _____[130] at approximately the same time of day but no one realized that they should have noted the exact time until far too long after the event.)