Thursday, August 7, 2014

Every Damn Day

Below is my submission for the August Writing Prompt for Poets Online:"Your task this month is to write a poem about a negative wish (or wishes)--a wish to undo, wishes that change the past. Those are the wishes that pull you right back to the present and have you thinking about the future."

Woulda, coulda, shoulda.
They keep telling me not to think about those.
That's pretty easy for them to say.

("Who the hell is 'they' anyway?" you always asked me
When you didn't agree with what I was saying
But knew I was probably right.
I remember that about you,
Back before Shoulda came to visit
And stole you away.)

They is the people who knew better than me.
I wish to God I'd listened to them.
I wish to God that I'd listened to that white-coat man--
The first one--
When he told me to give you the medicine.

"Time is of the essence," he said
(Yeah, when is it not? Ever?)
And then he pushed me to say goodbye too soon.
I wasn't ready to say goodbye
So I got that second opinion.

Damn the second opinion.
That's what we get when we don't agree with what they are saying
But know that they are probably right.

Well, Second Opinion served his purpose,
And I got the answer I thought I wanted.
At the time.
Before Shoulda came to visit.

What he didn't tell me--
That second white-coat man--
Was that either way you die too soon
And either way I have to say goodbye.

I wish to God I'd just been brave and said,
"Yes sir, you give her that shot right away.
Don't waste any time now.
We need her to walk again.
We need her to talk again.
She won't want to live in a bed the rest of her days."

But I didn't.
And so I got my wish.
The one I wish to God I hadn't wished.

I didn't have to say goodbye too quick.

Now I have to say goodbye too slow.
Every damn day.
While you lie there and look at me with wild eyes
In sunken sockets
And wait for Shoulda to come calling.

Every damn day.

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