Saturday, October 30, 2021

Knowing Now

Do a simple thing, she said.
Take a breath. Walk out the door.
Close it or don’t. Nothing will

Ever be the same again.
She laughed and set down her glass.
You get it, right? It’s not big,

Bad events alone that wreck
Your memory, split your life
Into before and after.

Everything you do does that.
She squinted, sighed. Cleared her throat.
OK, some things are bigger,

Hit you harder, way faster,
My ex-husband’s death. She paused.
The hospital. Things like that.

But it’s just you notice them.
Your body makes its mind up
What to grieve. How stunned it is.

She stared out at the sidewalk.
It’s a bad story, you know?
I don’t mean it’s misery.

It’s not all miserable.
That’s not what I mean. Life’s good,
You know. It’s . . . most of the time.

But it’s not a good story.
You can’t go back and reread.
You know you can’t rewrite it.

She laughed again. Shook her head.
But it doesn’t come out right.
It comes out herky-jerky,

All smooth and boring, then, wham!
Even if the whole of it
Looks not so bad in the end.

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