So Be It

If she drops dead
running along a trail
on a cool fall morning.

If she forgets why
he wandered into that dorm room
just to bite her on the neck.

(Who does that?)

If she reads old journals
from her college days
and decides to name the whole series:

“Diary of an Alcoholic as a Young Woman”

If she corrects her
19-year-old self’s spelling
of sea limpet in different colored ink.

If people still wrote letters.

If the deer crossed the parkway
30 seconds later.

If she would just finish reading
the novel instead of fretting
over the torn and crumbling cover.

If anyone still drinks gimlets.

If words scrawled
in indecipherable handwriting
on top of other freshly spilled ones

were anything
besides evidence
of alcoholic palimpsest.

If her face is red
because he calls her name.
If he appears looking disheveled and sexy,

and it’s dark, and all eyes
are on her, and he walks
down the hall,

and her face is red, and
she doesn’t know what to do
with her face.

If he calls her attire cosmopolitan,
and it’s years before
she lives up to her clothes

(never really does).

If she never orders a cosmopolitan
before getting sober.

If she would stop worrying
about the solo blue morph snow goose
in the city park.

On the last day of astronomical summer,
the bird man says it can fly well enough
when a hawk is near.

If she left more pages
blank,
so she (and everyone else) could breathe.

If she did burn
each and every volume
in an elaborate ritual

involving a bonfire behind
the Take No Heroes Hotel
on a bluff overlooking the sound.

If she had climbed the chain link fence,
the bird would have still died.

He would have still died.

If a floating dock
on the south side of an urban lake
is lonely at night.

If she had done a better job
keeping in touch.

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