Next time around I’ll be an old woman
ultimately. Matter-of-fact, kids grown
and independent as the French seem
to Americans who’ve stayed at home.
I’ll wait to be noticed first, but will be.
Having lived in all kinds of places
I’ll prefer the city, since there are cafes,
many varieties of everything, and friends
one needn’t fear will depend on one
overmuch. Next time I’ll wait for the trees
to fall in the dead of night instead,
magnificently, and next morning the sun
will come up like thunder.
And I’ll say—it’s just like that time,
it’s just like that one time I remember.
And I alone will remember.
I’ll be like that next time around.
Image: Clara Cook Kellogg, by Philip Alexius de László (1929). This portrait is in the National Portrait Gallery of the Smithsonian Institution (object number S/NPG.2006.114); it is made available by the Smithsonian under a Creative Commons Zero (CC0) license.