A Poetry Sporadical of Repeating Forms


by Juleigh Howard-Hobson

Once upon a very long time ago.

Once you knew how we were going to be
Once we married. You said something to me

Once about sailing around the world, then
Once we did, we were going to again
Once not being enough. “Ordinary men,

Once they do something once, are done. But why
Once,” you asked, “why not twice?” “Because we die
Once, are born once,” I answered. You and I
Once saw reasoning like that eye to eye . . .

Once we didn’t, though, everything changed. And,
Once everything changed, everything we planned
Once, stopped. We stopped. I didn’t understand,
Once you left me, why you left me. I scanned
Once, twice, a hundred times, the trite, short, bland

Once-folded over note you sent me. Just
Once would have been more than enough, though. Trust,
Once broken, and love renounced, are blunt. Must
Once and for all be what they are. Hope plus
Once turn into nothing at all but dust,
Once love is gone. And love left both of us

Once there was no “us.” Just you, just me,
Once again. I heard you went to sea, some sea,
Once, but never heard if you went only
Once or if you went again. Probably
Once I thought at the time. Though certainly,

Once I think about it, why wouldn’t you—
Once you’d gone go again? It was you who
Once planned to live that way, planned not to do
Once what could be done twice. “Live life times two!”

Once you said it, you felt it was brilliant;
Once I did too, but it felt different
Once I was left alone, after you went.

Once I knew how bad a broken heart ached
Once, I had no need to go back, re-break

Once upon a very long time ago.

Juleigh Howard-Hobson has simultaneously written literary fiction, formalist poetry and genre work, along with non-fiction essays and articles, purposely blunting the modern “brandable” concept of artistic obligation to any single form or movement. Her work has appeared in such venues as The Lyric, Mobius, qarrtsiluni, The Raintown Review, The Best of the Barefoot Muse (Barefoot Pub), and Caduceus (Yale University). She is the Assistant Poetry Editor of Able Muse.


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