ANOTHER DIALOGUE OF SELF AND SOUL

after William Butler Yeats; Robert Frost

Maybe in another timeline I would have chased the thrill of art,
would have penned entire shelves of words by now, would have
long ago carved my name into the bark of Unforgettable, soul
suspended in that living tissue. But I gave up art for practicality.
I surrendered myself to the laws of the world pleading Take me
for what I should be, not for what I am. Let me accept forgettable.

Oh—to have lived endless lives confined in the fallacy of a mind.
And to think of all the possible routes I could have taken, dear
Frost, do you hear me? I am still dreaming of roads never taken,
now forever paved over. In my unlived life I am blossoming in
the dim smoke of an underground hideaway. Electric. There
I have earned Artist, martyred by never going gentle into any
good night. Rage, rage, this body, that body, all of the bodies
of which I have played tenant, of which I have tried on and
worn and later outgrew. Other timeline Self would gaze at this
self, this lowercase self, this shell of a poet drifting across these
useless keys, hardly making any discernible noise, nor progress,
her unremarkable words, these empty shelves, the dead trees
of magic branching nowhere, all of that rotting bark. And
she would shake her head at me— (finger? fist? shoulders?)
—weeping No, you promised you’d find me one day. And maybe
I’d weep for her. Or maybe I wouldn’t. Maybe I’d just observe
her impossible, unreachable, uninhabitable beauty, the me
that could have been, should have lived, and let her escape me.
I couldn’t find you. I lost touch of you. I’m sorry I couldn’t reach.

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