Thursday, April 4, 2013

A Lifetime Ago

You used to be so cute (used to be)
he declared with too much enthusiasm
a real looker, a total babe! -
as if chopped liver appeared more savory
than me in this moment:
a reminder of what was,
of skinnier jeans, chiseled torso
healthy tan, and a smile
any orthodontist would admire

The years take their toll
as my once narrow frame
buckles under sore knees,
my eyesight falters under duress
the computer screen’s twelve font display
dwindles in real time
barely able to peer letters
when I squint

Glory days of yesteryear
pass like a freight train
bolting at one hundred miles per hour,
visions of my tight 501s
flannel shirt, steel toe boots
rugged, intimidating;
underneath was the child
who escaped the conservative shackles
of Midwestern strife
a great place to grow up
a better one to leave

I played the reindeer games
dated pretty girls with red bows
pink lipstick, afraid
they would kiss me under the elm
in front of my house,
scared that I wouldn’t smack lips
and show the boys I fit in

I pecked my first man
at the age of seventeen;
he was all of twenty-three
blond bangs that covered
his baby-greens,
a smooth talker who liked to drink
smoke too many cigarettes
until I became weary
and passed him by
his heart a molten mess

The world was my playground
but insecurities, naiveté
plagued me so that I did not comprehend
that I was coveted;
all I wanted were stealthy arms
to hold me tight, whisper
intimate secrets under linens
our knees locked in a lover’s embrace

You really were beautiful (were)
he says deliberately
as if what I have to offer
now that experience has taught
is not enough to reflect
on yesterday’s promise
that I can brave the world alone
I am worthy, I self-soothe
frayed nerves that challenge
my resolve, self-esteem,
that I am not being admonished
so much as being sought
in the orbs of a pouty queen
with the sensitivity of a nagging gnat.
Survivor when brothers perished,
educator to ignorant ears
overachiever in self-growth, awareness –
I am all these things and yet…

I do not question what I won;
I just wish I had more time to love,
to appreciate the journey,
had the ability to turn clocks back
begin again, strive
to know then what I know now

You really were something
and I have to smile
because I have invested in my core.
Besides, to still be wistful
is to feel at all –
I don’t pretend to be anyone
other than who I am
and it took a lifetime perhaps
but it was worth the wait after all.


  1. I'm impressed. To me, the best poems are those to which I can either relate or with which I can empathize. "A Lifetime Ago" achieved both. Thanks.

  2. Thanks DorienRoger. This was stream consciousness. But I am glad you appreciated my efforts here.