Similar Steps, Different Paths | Poetry Breakdown

Hello everyone,

I hope you had a great week so far!

“Similar Steps, Different Paths”

Side- by-side we stand
Side-by-side we walk
Our steps pressing down hard onto the concrete
but my toes are pointed to the right
and yours are headed to the left
yet we continue walking together unbeknownst to you.

What does ‘together’ mean?
Does it mean our faces light each other up?
Does it mean your name rests comfortably on my tongue?
Does it mean you can confide in me without any fear of betrayal, not even a glimpse?
Does it mean our steps match each other’s rhythm or
syncopates it?
How can we be ‘together’ if
not a word is exchanged?

We intersect and it’s mysterious
Our eyes flicker and meet, grasping familiarity
in how you walk
in how you dress
in how you fit into the world.
We pass each other by
and our steps briefly match
and then every fleeting memory of each other
quickly fades away.

This piece was a lot of fun to write! Granted, I did write it in my Biology lecture, but bear with me. My inspiration for this piece was basically random people I see on campus. There are a certain group of people I see every day because for some reason, our schedules are similar, but I don’t know their name. Sometimes I see those people more often than my actual friends. I find that really interesting. Sometimes I want to know who those people are, but I’ll just let them be.

There are times when I find myself walking behind the same people and then we part ways which is what fourth line on the first stanza is saying. As a writer, I find myself being pretty observant so the last line means that that person may or may not notice that I see them at that particular time.

In the next stanza, I start an internal questioning. What does ‘together’ mean? To answer, I add in even more questions to narrow it down. All in all, I’m just suggesting intimacy and vulnerability – key parts to having a valuable relationship whether it be friendship, familial or romantic. The last question brings it back together in the sense that with those people I see around, should I consider them even friends? Should I even say that we’re ‘together’? Personally, I wouldn’t say so because a friendship requires two parts and when you just see each other and you don’t break the barrier of being strangers, then you remain strangers.

The final stranger is a demonstration of what happens in my head when I see someone I’ve always seen. I think it’s pretty self-explanatory. You see them and a brief moment of judgement passes through your head. Afterwards, you just forget everything about that person. It’s very interesting the way we behave like this with these people. I don’t know why we do this, but all it takes is a simple hello to break that barrier you would find yourself getting further from being strangers the more you talk.

Well, I hope you enjoyed this piece and I’ll see you later!

Alice

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