Unforced Error by Meghan O’Rourke

by Vanessa

Once: those long wet Vermont summers.
No money, nothing to do but read books, swim 
in the river with men wearing their jean shorts,
then play bingo outside the church, celebrating when we won.
Nothing seemed real to me and it was all very alive.
It took that long to learn how wrong I was—
over the rim of the horizon the sun burns.
Heidegger: “Every man is born as many men
and dies as a single one.” 
The bones in us still marrowful.
The moon up there, too, an arctic sorrow.
I’m sorry, another Scotch? Some nuts?
I used to think pressing forward was the point of life, 
endlessly forward, the snow falling,gaudily falling.
I made a mistake. Now I have a will. It says when I die
let me live. A white shirt, bare legs, bones beneath.
Numbers on a board. A life can be a lucky streak,
or a dry spell, or a happenstance. 
Yellow raspberries in July sun, bitter plums, curtains in wind.

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