Wish I Could Go Back Knowing What I Know Now

   Deep in the abandoned culvert, the portal appeared.

   Walking along the waterfront, I thought I heard kids playing inside the drain pipe.

   Stupid kids. Wish I could go back sometimes, knowing what I know now.

   I huffed my way down to  get them out of harm’s way.

   There was light where there shouldn’t have been.

    At the other end, I saw myself.


   Kid -me surrounded by friends, looking every bit the kid that got bullied. Skinny and awkward the way child nerds are,nowhere close to any slang that would describe him as cool. But he and his friends were happy. 

    About to make a wish, he saw me, and shook his head. 

   I wasn’t invited.


 Teenage-me walking down Broadway with my poet friend, the city streets energized in the warm evening, full of bright colors, short skirts, and festive noises, and a busking sax player trying to tear a hole in the sky. 

  We were on our way to my first poetry reading at the cafe.  I was nervous but excited.

  Teenage-me stopped talking to his friend when he saw me, and shook his head.

   I wasn’t welcome.



    A quiet Sunday afternoon in the hospital, grad-me stood beside the bed where his wife trembled from the c-section shots. The doctor handed the bundle to him.

   His newborn daughter looked at him, as quiet as the day, and melted his heart.

   ‘She’s beautiful.’ he told his wife, and let her see.

   Then grad-me saw me,standing at the end of the portal, and shook his head. 

   I wasn’t part of the family.




   The light faded, leaving me in darkness. 

    I walked back and started home, wiping tears.

    They weren’t invited, allowed to fall, or part of the family anymore.

    I never made that wish again.


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