Let’s thank our mistakes, let’s bless them
for their humanity, their terribly weak chins.
We should offer them our gratitude and admiration
for giving us our clefts and scarring us with
embarrassment, the hot flash of confession.
Thank you, transgressions! for making us so right
in our imperfections. Less flawed, we might have
turned away, feeling too fit, our desires looking
for better directions. Without them, we might have
passed the place where one of us stood, watching
someone else walk away, and followed them,
while our perfect mistake walked straight towards us,
walked right into our cluttered, ordered lives
that could have been closed but were not,
that could have been asleep, but instead
stayed up, all night, forgetting the pill,
the good book, the necessary eight hours,
and lay there – in the middle of the bed –
keeping the heart awake – open and stunned,
stunning. How unhappy perfection must be
over there on the shelf without a crack, without
this critical break – this falling – this sudden, thrilling draft.
Rethinking Regret first appeared in American Poetry Review, Vol. 29, No. 6, and is reprinted with permission from New Issues Press.
The self you leave behind is only a skin you have outgrown. Don’t grieve for…
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—for Papa Sitting on the deck by the river hushed and soft with the light…
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