Fellow Travelers


Making friends with my younger self

takes years until one day my brother appears

with photos he took of our long ago trip

to New Zealand and when I see myself

posing by Mt. Cook, standing in a street

full of sheep, on a boat in Lake Wakatipu


suddenly I don’t need to forgive

the Playgirl centerfolds decorating my old dorm room

my sleeping around, how long it took me to be faithful

to anyone or anything but birth control

I remember the hollow center of pain

can see even in these faded snapshots


that she was doing the best she could

and she was so free…how can I refuse to love

what I made out of so much nothing




Joanne Holdridge lives in Arlington, MA and has recently published poems in Coal City Review, Illuminations, New American Writing, Poem, Talking River Review, and Willow Review.  She has work forthcoming in Mudfish and The Midwest Quarterly and has twice been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Prior to Covid-19, she spent winters on skis in northern NH and taught poetry and literature classes to ESL students at Bunker Hill Community College for thirty years.