[always a] work in progress

[a certain list poem
of all six regrets
of a certain writer
teenager
s t o r y t e l l e r
girl.]

i always wish that
i had said thank you
that i had told you just how sweet you really were
because when you made me that cupcake [with the little candy heart]
and got all dressed up [just to ask me to dance]
it was the most lovely thing a boy ever
ever
did for me.
and i shouldn’t have left you hanging.

and i wish i didn’t give up
so easily
i wish that
when i decided to do something
i would actually do it
because being lazy and unreliable can weigh you down so much.

and sometimes, just sometimes
i wish the stories in my head didn’t feel so true
because people never understand that when i write something sad and they say
‘then just change it’ or ‘don’t kill her!’ or ‘you’re the writer, just undo it’
it makes me squirm
and i have to explain that it wasn’t a choice
or filler
or a plot device
it was just what happened.

i wish i hadn’t ever thought about the fact that
in a few years’ time, all these moments
every fleeting thought and desire and emotion
will have been forgotten
and i wish that this thought hadn’t struck me in trigonometry
because mini panic attacks can be very distracting, and
math’s hard enough as it is.

i wish that i had never identified myself as
the quiet one
the shy one
the ‘ohpleaseleavemealone’ one
and i know i should have waited longer to decide who i was
because an identity is like a broken bone
if it sets wrong, you have to break it all over again
just to fix it.

and i wish that i had never forgotten how to
think myself happy
because when i was younger i knew that i could choose
to have a good day
i knew exactly where to find my smiles
and then i grew up.
and i forgot.

    [but now, oh, now i’m remembering. better late than never.]

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