For Want of Slow is a piece of writing my friend and Wild Writing student, Lori Saltzman wrote in class last week. I asked her if I could share it here.


What I need you to know is

I feel like a temporary survivor of a fatal epidemic

Like walking the set of a horror movie

One of those deadly plague films

where everyone acts as if everything is normal

Suddenly there’s a look in their eye, a subtle change in the tempo of speech

A minute shift in posture that tips you off

They’ve got it

They’re dying

It’s only a matter of time now


Only in this movie I live in we tell each other every day

I’ve got it

I’m dying

I’m dying of too much

running and rushing, breathless

doing more and feeling less

I’m dying for want of slow

For want of dragging my toes in the water over the side of a drifting canoe

I’m dying for touch, unhurried

The meandering kind that goes nowhere or bursts into flames

Either would save me


The zombies in my movie share symptoms like we used to share

dreams and drugs and beds and long, long hikes

I feel myself breaking, Andrea says

We all nod, solemn

Murmur our own signs of breakage,

honor our shared suffering with silence

Resigned that the medicine not an arm’s length away is out of reach

A few yards down the hill the canoe sits, floating in wait


We bend our heads in unison

to the list of agenda items we absolutely must cover



Lori teaches Write of Passage, a fusion of movement and writing. You can find her work at Open Floor.