my birthday present

my birthday present
My awesome birthday present 1/26/11 (see story under my first post)

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Hindsight is 20/20


Post Hoc

It happened because he looked a gift horse in the mouth.
It happened because he couldn't get that monkey off his back.
It happened because she didn't chew 22 times before swallowing.
What was she thinking, letting him walk home alone from the bus stop?
What was he thinking, standing up in the boat like that?
Once she signed those papers the die was cast.
She should have waited an hour before going in; everyone knows
salami and seawater don't mix.
He should have checked his parachute a seventh time;
you can never be too careful.
Why didn't she declare her true feelings?
Why didn't she play hard to get? She could be out at some
nice restaurant right now instead of in church, praying
for the strength to let him go.
It all started with that tattoo.
It all started with her decision to order the chicken salad.
Why was he so picky?
Why wasn't she more discriminating?
He should have read the writing on the wall; listened
to the still small voice, had a lick of sense. But how could he when he
was blinded by passion? Deaf to warnings? Really dumb?
Why, why, in God's name, did he run with scissors?
If only they'd asked Jesus for help.
If only they'd asked their friends for help.
If only they'd ignored the advice of others and held fast
to their own convictions, they might all be here, now,
with us, instead of six feet under; instead of trying to adopt
that foreign baby, instead of warming that barstool
at the Road Not Taken Eatery and Lounge, wondering how it might all
have been different, if only they had done
the right thing.
"Post Hoc" by Jennifer Maier, from Dark Alphabet. © Southern Illinois University Press, 2006.

I discovered this poem on Garrison Keillor’s daily blog, Writer’s Almanac. I instantly related to this poem because I so often fall into this quagmire of self doubt, second guessing and regret. this poem helps reveal the absurdity in that thinking. I found four more of her poems in the archives there. I really like her style and messages. I will be ordering her book called Dark Alphabet. Here is a link to a write up on Jennifer Maier.

3 comments:

Jayne said...

This poem means so much to me after the horrific shootings at Chardon High School last week. I only wish all the teachers and administrators at the school could read this poem.

marie-josé said...

I read this poem with a twist. I saw it as a piece about destiny. Sometimes destiny and tragedy mix. And the "if only" people try to fix what's "unfixable." They can't be smarter than destiny --or more cruel sometimes, even if within such cruelty, a message may lie. For destiny always teaches. Does that make sense?

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