37: To My Twenty-Four-Year-Old Self

January 15, 2019
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To My Twenty-Four-Year-Old Self

by Brenda Shaughnessy

You wouldn’t know me,
If I came to you in a dream.

You’d be sleeping
It off, you’d be naked

And cute, but you think
You’re a kind of monster

And maybe you are,
Just not an ugly one.

That whole business
Will come later.

You’d pass me on the street
As well, a “normal,”

Someone who traded
In her essentials for

A look of haunted

Someone who was maybe
Once a girl you’d know.

I would want to tell
You that romance

Was a kind of civilization
That fell. I cannot

Explain the complex
Strategies in that bitter

Defeat, not that I
Fathom it, except to say

That we are all haunted.
You too, in your wild love

And fear. You are a monster.
I am not a dream.


“To My Twenty-Four-Year-Old Self”, from OUR ANDROMEDA by Brenda Shaughnessy. Copyright © 2012 by Brenda Shaughnessy. Used by permission of Copper Canyon Press.