knittingknots (knittingknots) wrote,

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First Poem of 2009: Might Have Beens

Might Have Beens

She would wrap  her hands
as she worked the hoe through her garden,
trying to keep her hands soft,
and wear a hat on her head
to keep the sun off,
even as she bent over
with a child strapped to her back –
there were some things
she was not willing to let go
from the life she once knew.

Here, among the herbs blooming,
and the greens growing,
and the daikon
and the lazy buzz of a wasp,
she thought, sometimes, of the girls she grew up with,
and how they would be sitting in class,
listening to some instructor drone on
about literature, and economics,
history or math,
and how they would meet after class,
and go shopping,
or go eat hamburgers and gossip,
and perhaps,
when they passed by the shrine where she grew up,
they would  remember their friend,
whose life turned strange when she was fifteen,
and, never quite the same,
left for good at eighteen.

Sometimes, she would rest on the hoe,
or tend the fussing child
who looked at her with amber eyes
and brush her fingers through his hair
that shimmered silver in the sunlight,
and think about what might have been,
and the life she could have led,
and the dresses she would have worn,
and the work she might have done,
and the nights she would have slept alone.

Sometimes her silver-haired husband
would find her pausing in her work
as he walked up the paths out of the forest
and catch her with her eyes lost in the distance,
and he would know what she was thinking,
and something in him would tighten,
tasting of guilt and regret 
until she looked up at him,
her eyes brightening,
her smile chasing away the shadows,
and he would rest, reassured,
that she was exactly where she wanted to be.
Tags: poem

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