My Hour 11 poem. The prompt was to write a poem in the form of a letter to a past self. I knew exactly which one to pick…
Okay, we have to talk
Every few years
you try to save yourself time or effort
by taking shortcuts
You know what I’m talking about—
don’t even lie
Let me remind you:
That time at the Graham Hill playground
when your bicycle chain fell off?
You couldn’t use the brakes to stop
so you steered right into the chain-link fence?
Fortunately, the boys were all right
That time in the Cleveland parking lot?
You were in a rush to get to your first class
so you went up the dirt embankment, tripped
and fell on a piece of glass?
Spent the morning in the emergency room?
Six stitches? Ring a bell?
That time at Crazy Mike’s when you jumped up
to grab something from the other side of the counter
and your ribs hit the edge on the way down?
That still hurts sometimes, you know
That time when Levitz was delivering the new living room furniture
but got lost in that wacky little area
where the street names trade places?
After flagging them down
you ran across the lawn and tried to jump up to the front door
so you wouldn’t have to go up TWO STEPS?
You didn’t break it, but that ankle will never be quite right…
That time you went with the wife to get a new car
after one of the kids totalled it in a wreck?
You should have bought used, I’m telling you
’cause that thing was already doomed
even without the damn kids
All those times you grabbed everything from the car
because you didn’t want to make two or three trips
then tripped on the stairs because you couldn’t see where your feet were?
How long did it take before you could pull stuff out of the washing machine
without going OW–OW–OW–OW?
Or that time you were carrying that big-ass box out to your car
from your mom’s house and fell down those TWO STEPS?
Remember how it took two or three years
for that arm to get back to normal?
Don’t tell me you don’t—you still have the elbow brace to prove it
And what about that time you married your ex
because y’all thought you were so mature now
and all the bad shit was already behind you?
Uh-huh—where are you now?
Make the extra trips
Walk around the whatever
Take the stairs
Do it right
And most of all—history is not a shortcut
(22 June 2019)
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