R & Her Egret

From AlphabeTique: the Lives of the Letters as Written by T.

Never apologize, EVER!
R grew up straight in this resolve,
unlike her curly, lower-case mother
who wobbled toward remorse all the time:
rued her lousy job, repented her risable husband.
Not R.
She shot straight up one side of her life
to her goal of Never.

But eventually she had to fall
down into love and error.
At the top of her line of resolve
she curved.
Rolled out, then reversed back,
hoping to meet her oath of Never
— but making a capital P.

A P? That wasn’t her at all!
She reeled down in a line to
her original ground: R.
“JE NE REGRET RIEN!” she tried to roar,
but couldn’t,
for she was full of regret
— and rien.
Had she reached her essence?

Regret doesn’t mean you’d change
what you’ve done.

It’s a place,
the negative space a choice leaves.
Like learning to see
that the portrait of a girl in a hat
can be reversed by the eye
to the profile of an old woman.
Regret? Just the flash of seeing both.

R noticed her habit of
shifting weight to one leg,
lifting the other to hesitate
part way under her body
like an egret.
She had a white bird inside her,
standing on one leg, lifting the other
to buttress its breast,
the embodiment of an R,

anchored, fishing,
yet poised for flight.
Such a bird dipped and flew
rapidly over the roiling ocean
with a quick laugh, no irony
ever rising into rien,
without apology
according to its nature.

FROM Margie: The American Journal of Poetry, Vol. 8, 2009
REPRINTED WITH THE AUTHOR’S PERMISSION

Printed from Cerise Press: http://www.cerisepress.com

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