I have no regrets about paths not taken,
career not pursued,
fetus lost before viable,
harbor no regrets about material choices made—
although I want a do-over for some relationships
and maybe I’ll have that opportunity
next time through, but now
looking back, I see the choices I made as a path
through mist. I trust that the ground
will be there when I lay my foot down, receive me
when I stumble and drop. Solid terra firma
bruises my knee, scrapes my palm
forces me to pause, nurture punctured skin
with clean water, A&D ointment, and beige
Band-Aid. When I rise (because I have to rise,
I can’t hide in bed all day) the way waits for me.
Waits for me with trappings of fall underfoot,
those red-hued or golden leaves lie about
like discarded dresses, and I think of preserving
their luminosity between wax paper, sew them
into a robe with a high collar I fling on like a mantle
and in that act, I own the colors. I look in the direction
my toes face while mist kisses my skin with promises
that the way will be there when I step out.
Why I Won’t
I’m not allowed
to slide the smooth
along my vein.
Not allowed to cut
along my leg.
I’m not allowed
to inflict my mutilation
with my internal critics.
which would release ripples
to unknown places
and touch unexpected people,
is like that.
It vibrates in the air
long after you’ve gone.
Your left ear
is mine if her eyes fill with tears, and
if you think I’m just some middle aged
hay-seed, go ask someone ‘bout Fred.
That swaggering bully
with easy blue eyes, tight jeans
and loose shirt, yes, ask someone
if they know why Fred
wears his baseball cap with bill
cupped low over his ear. Now
mind you, I meant to take the whole thing,
but I hadn’t the skill
back then, to slice just between
skull and soft lobe, slice straight up
without damaging a hair,
nope I hadn’t the skills back then,
so Fred, he kept his ear, but
it never mended right. Like her heart.
And his ear’s still mangled they tell me.
So, I’m just saying, you seem
like a nice fellow and I’d be
glad to see her happy, but your
left ear is gone if you hurt her.
Sarah Ferris is published in Gyroscope Review, Poetic Diversity, Better than Starbucks, RATTLE, and Ol’ Chanty, among others. Her chapbook Snakes That Dance Like Daffodils was published in April, 2019. Sarah has an MA in Spiritual Psychology from the University of Santa Monica, and a BA in Cinema Studies from NYU. She lives in Los Angeles with her family.