Runner-up, 2016 Randall Jarrell Poetry Competition
“To be an antediluvian is an extremely proud and pleasant thing.” —Charles Dickens
More than a thousand years ago
when I was young and silly, I believed
in sugar Valentines and ribbon flowers
pinned in places of the heart.
A thousand years ago when
I was wild and crazy-eyed I wanted
of thin white curtains blowing
in warm breezes from wide sandy beaches.
A thousand or so years ago I loaded my arms
and cracked my back with pages
in every word of the world’s ways until I knew
everything and nothing.
Nothing at all.
Still I was happy.
A thousand million billion years ago I wore hats
of every shape and color
and purses that matched my skirts and jackets.
I marched with the merry go round crowds
at the fair.
O, several million years ago I loaded my days
with paper and coins
traded towns and lives for those in chairs
A thousand shoes ago I ran with life, tripping and falling, rising only
to run footpaths in flats and heels, leather and plastic, city streets.
I had long legs, tough heels,
sweet toes and loved the race.
Loved the air.
Loved. Loved. Loved.
I was fleet of feet.
Now I am barefoot in this afterlife,
limping and leaping, over tender stones
upturned and mossy.