February 20, 2017

Regret Nothing

Regret nothing. Not the cruel novels you readto the end just to find out who killed the cook.
Not the insipid movies that made you cry in the dark.
Not the lover you left quivering in a hotel parking lot,
or the one who left you in your red dress and shoes,
the ones that crimped your toes,
don’t regret those.

Not the nights you called god names and cursed your mother,
sunk like a dog in the livingroom couch,
chewing your nails and crushed by loneliness.
You were meant to inhale those smoky nights over a bottle of flat beer,
to sweep stuck onion rings across the dirty restaurant floor,
to wear the frayed coat with its loose buttons,
its pockets full of struck matches.

You’ve walked those streets a thousand times
and still you end up here.
Regret none of it,
not one of the wasted days you wanted to know nothing,
when the lights from the carnival rides
were the only stars you believed in,
loving them for their uselessness, not wanting to be saved.

You’ve traveled this far on the back of every mistake,
ridden in dark-eyed and morose but calm as a house
after the TV set has been pitched out the upstairs
window. Harmless as a broken ax. Emptied
of expectation. Relax. Don’t bother remembering
any of it. Let’s stop here, under the lit sign
on the corner, and watch all the people walk by.

“Antilamentation” by Dorianne Laux
Listen to it here beautifully read: http://writersalmanac.publicradio.org/index.php?date=2006/02/13

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