Poetry Performed Episode 028 - In(Re)trospect by Erik Shinker

This week, a first for Poetry Performed - a poem from a living poet - In(Re)trospect by Minneapolis’ own Erik Shinker.

In(Re)trospect by Erik Shinker

The beads of summer
sweat coated your upper lip;
a foil to the chilly
distance of
my heart’s malcontent.
Cheeks would blush.

Your hair, a
curtain of auburn mimicry,
brushed my brow with
each lustful kiss.
Pressure enough to
freeze time.

We marched through
our passion, always
just out of

I wanted what was best; you wanted
Burns and scars forced
me to pave the road to hell.
You never wanted to
hurt me,
just yourself.

How many have I pined after
in your wake?
How few reciprocated? How
could I replace what was
But a relationship cannot be
built on lies and
no matter how much I wanted you,
it just wasn’t
to be.

I hardened my heart
in the hope of
saving yours.
I left you crying
amid the laughter of children
on that summer day.
Such promise; such potential
because of my best intentions.
So many false starts, swearing oaths
I couldn’t help but

I wanted you to get
and you did (I think).
You met shortly after our split.
A decade later and
you’ve been together
through it all.
For what seemed an age,
I watched from afar and remembered
who we used to be.

Ten years on and we’re different people.
A gold band now tips the scale of your left hand
while the pair of mine remain

It seems a
lifetime ago.
It might as well have been.
And the worst part is
I couldn’t

Erik Shinker is a Minnesota based poet, and is the first living poet we have featured here on Poetry Performed. He holds a BA in English with an Emphasis on Literature and Creative Writing from Minnesota State University - Mankato. His work has been featured in both Minnesota’s Emerging Writers and America’s Emerging Writers. When not writing poetry or blogging about books, film, music, and more, he works as a manufacturing technical writer at a medical device company.

Erik Shinker’s work can be found at perpetuallypastdue.com. This poem was used with permission.

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Theme music provided by David Hilowitz.