Monday, September 26, 2011

The If Onlys

There, is the woman with the feet that turn inward

Walking across the road to the park. Sometimes

She gets stuck in the meridian, tottering as she does

on the outside of her feet—Hers is a hobble

that looks painful and trying. Cars whizzing by on both sides.

I watch from my window as she crosses

Thinking about her life and my own, in which

My soles paddle the ground lightly and I have

Been given, at times, to speed.

My four sisters call my feet water-skis—

Too long, too flat! They cry, pointing

At my poor and blameless feet.

In the Second grade, I picked out a pair of white

Puffy sneakers for school. Once home, I realized

They made my feet look like enormous albino tacos.

I ran outside and threw myself down on the ground

Under a pine in the yard, sniveling.

I was not dainty! I was dreadful!

There began my girl’s life of if onlys—

How much better I would be if I didn’t have

These freckles, this haircut, these thighs...

If I had boobs, a boyfriend, more money.

I have mostly recovered from the if onlys,

But some days, watching her cross to the park,

They return, and I let myself wonder how her life

And my own, might have been different.

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