Imagine feeling something one time, and that’s it.
No mulling it over, no rehashing and regurgitating,
no regretting and redoing it in our heads. Imagine
talking things over once, and then looking ahead to dinner,
or having our feelings hurt and then skipping off to freeze-tag
like we could when we were kids, when we were still
generous and carefree and forgiving,
the wind in our hair, sharing our gum.
We looked back
only to squeak with delight
at who was chasing us, as the streetlights came on
and our moms called us home. We fell asleep still talking
in our twin beds, staring at our Wonder Woman posters
and stars glued to the ceiling, suspending us in space.
Imagine that could be enough.
Author’s Commentary: I started noticing, first in others and then in myself, the ways we stay stuck—we hold onto things, drag them around and harp on them, pile more on and never move through it. How we make things so hard on ourselves. I longed for the simplicity and sense of freedom I felt as a kid when I could forget, for a little while, all of the hard stuff and just play. So, I began working on what keeps me tethered to that rusty wheel—and I found that feeling again.
Barb Reynolds was a child abuse investigator for 22 years. Her chapbook Boxing Without Gloves was published by Finishing Line Press in 2014, and her poems have appeared in various journals, most recently: Poet Lore, CALYX, and Mudfish 20 (April/May 2018). Barb curates the Britt Marie Second Sunday Poetry Series in Albany, CA, and she divides her time between Oakland, CA and Provincetown, MA.