It makes life easier to love what you already have, my partner said the other night when we were talking about a friend who is never satisfied.
Easier, but not always easy. Sometimes I look back in time and wonder what would have become of me if I’d stayed in Vermont. If I’d studied poetry instead of Mandarin. If I’d moved to Thailand. If I’d said no, said yes, said Please let me think this through because something doesn’t feel right, said I need help, said No, I can’t. Or said nothing at all, but walked away, walked toward, walked around.
All the lives we might have lived. All the people we might have been. All the could’ves, reaching their small hands out to us through time and space.
The Evening Star, by George Kalogeris
I boarded the Blue Line at Aquarium station.
The only empty seat was the one by that young,
head back, eyes closed, exhausted-looking father
holding his sleeping child in his folded arms.
It was already suppertime, and the Evening Star,
as Sappho sings, was calling all of the creatures
home to their mother, through the rush-hour traffic.
The subway was coming out of the tunnel’s mouth
and I was sixty when I suddenly felt
a tiny hand start pulling at my sleeve.
In his sleep the child I never had was reaching
out for me, while the father I never became
kept his eyes shut. And all the way to my stop
at Orient Heights, nothing disturbed our dream