What if you had been someone else?
What if I had never met you
Because you were someone else
And I walked right by you
My eyes lighting
On your eyes
Or whoever’s eyes
For only a beat for only
Say five rapid fire
Or ten movie frames?
Or we met at a party
Then went home with other people
Which was vaguely dissatisfying though
We didn’t realize it at the time?
What if we met every day
But we just didn’t see it?
What if I look in the toothpaste-speckled
Mirror and you are standing right behind me
6.My Daughter Tells Me of Two Girls Busted Sneaking into Each Other’s Beds in the Early Mornings Before School
I imagine them nude, but for pearls.
Languid and long-legged,
Pretending to smoke unlit cigarettes in sweeping, ivory-inlayed
Holders, whispering and laughing low,
Tinny jazz over cell phone speakers.
They are merely huddled together
On a bare single mattress
Eyes shut tight against the pearly
Terrified together in this terrible world
We have made for them.
Here is a list of everything
Every day and how you spent it
Here is every instance we could find of memory
Drenched in shame, also
Every wasted moment.
Here is all your envy.
This is a title list of books you never got to.
Here is how you saw yourself
The things people actually said.
Here is everyone who ever loved you
And every single button lost
From each and every coat you wore.
All the things that could have been are
Right behind those double doors.
102.How Bad it’s Gotten
I want to feel I am doing right
Not have answers
But know someone who does
And know they know
They know I know
I love the color saffron
I love the sound of bells
I could walk down the street alone
Knowing something better is coming
And not be sad
Not be scared
Even if I know, somewhere,
Jennifer Sheridan holding these truths to be somewhat self evident, also holds an MFA from Columbia College in Chicago. Her work has appeared in Rattle and Spectrum magazines.