Saturday, April 7, 2012

Dear Self I Might Have Been

by Catherine Pierce

Did you ever make it to Taos, the Badlands, the Isle
of Skye, all the places you thought you'd locate yourself,

as if you might have been hiding in a whisky cask
or buried by earthquake rubble? I suspect, Self

I Might Have Been, that you didn't. I suspect
that you spent the long highway days of your twenties

surrounded by photographs and harmonica songs, the future
a galaxy hurtling above you, infinite and too far

to touch, and your body always alive with nerves and hope,
your hunger for Next pushing that other hunger

to the side until you became thin as a plunging star's trail,
your eyes larger and larger until they could take in

all the sky's dome at once. And I suspect that you loved
so much this launch phase -- the roar, the flames the fear --

that the cubicle at your filing job, the elm-lined streets
of your hometown became lit with a heat

Stronger than the desert, with vistas more awful
than the Badlands, with desolation greater and greener

than that Scottish isle, and once you saw your world
in its true vastness, you knew you'd never leave it.