“Train Gone, Sorry,” is a popular idiom used in American Sign Language meaning you’ve missed part of the conversation; it’s done. It’s also the name of a poetry collection penned by Melissa Skyer, an environmental science lecturer at RIT/NTID, that has helped her cope with several losses, or “missing parts,” in her life.
According to Skyer, Train Gone, Sorry, an “elegy to all that has been lost,” is “a way of turning loss into something beautiful,” as it documents her emotions in dealing with the death of her father, her sudden hearing loss, and the ending of romantic relationships.
Separated into four distinct chapters—Gravity, Ill of Noise, I Was/We Were and Separation Anxiety—the collection, with photography throughout, exposes readers to Skyer’s devastation and ultimately her resilience. In the first chapter, she struggles to come to terms with the death of her father, who passed away while she was presenting research at a conference.
“My attendance at the conference was a direct result of my father, who was also a scientist,” she said. “I emulated him and I was absolutely devastated by his passing.”
In the second chapter, Skyer describes what it was like to wake up deaf after a surgical procedure.
“I literally became a deaf person overnight,” said Skyer, who lost her hearing 10 years ago. ‘Ill of Noise,’ was my way of processing things. Through it all, I’ve learned that I’m resilient. Everyone has things that they go through and that don’t go according to plan. I know that I can never go back to the way things were, but I also know that I’ll never give up.”
Skyer’s book, which she also sees as a record of past events, was recently selected to appear in the Self-Published Book Festival at the Rochester Public Library.
“I’m a scientist by trade, and I usually deal with things that are very exact,” she added. “Writing this poetry book and seeing my thoughts expressed in words and pictures was a great way to exercise the creative side of my brain.”