An Eighties Do-Over

This morning I granted myself a second chance. I let
myself live the life I have often suspected I should have
lived, given the time and the location.
I said: be all that you think you could be.

I’d be able to fold myself into a chair and laugh easily.
Beachy hair and effortless blue calm like a well-worn denim
shirt, I’d be all cable-knit wholesomeness and maybe actually
study for tests instead of spending my evening hours
planning my bons mots for future episodes of Letterman.
And while I still might not have had Weejun-footed gentleman
callers I would have at least had a date for the prom.

I may have started drinking earlier. Wine coolers in plastic
tumblers in someone’s basement rec room with Squeeze
playing in the background. I always have the right shoes
and my sought after curls always smell like mousse. I will
have Steve Miller lyrics as my yearbook quote and think
nothing of it. In short, I simply won’t have to try so hard.

And if I feel as though I have to crawl out of my skin I will never let on.

I won’t have the chance to inhabit someone else’s skin
to relieve that pressure, since my extracurriculars
will not include Drama Club or Show Choir.
The staid, studious version I am creating as I sit here,
embodying everything I was and did and saw, is starting
to make me miserable, more miserable than I thought I
was back then, as it was actually happening. I think: I’m good.
But I still should have studied more.

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