Tuesday, August 22, 2017
Today is my 42nd birthday. That is at least seven birthdays more than I was really expecting, 32 more than I thought I'd get as a kid. I've written a lot about birthdays, but less about other things that matter. For instance, I never wrote here, after my last post, to tell everyone who reads this blog that I don't have cancer for a third time. My suspicious mass was benign. I told my people, I celebrated, I drank, I felt such relief it isn't even worth describing, I eventually told my kids about it, and I didn't write it here because I was busy and I don't come here like I used to when coming here helped save me. And so, I don't have that much to say about 42, except I'm here, and I wasn't expecting to be, and it's as boring and miraculous as weather.
I didn't know what to say, so I wrote this instead. Here's to 42. And to 35, the age I was when I ate these grapes, right after I had dedicated so much time to cheating death. And here's to all the ages we reach when we're lucky enough to reach them. I wish you as many as you can get.
If I Could Go Back I Would
By Katy Jacob
Still not share the grapes with my children;
they were perfect and we were older and had less time.
Choose, all over again, a bowl that I knew would keep them colder
at the back of the refrigerator I would
pick out again if I was re-doing my kitchen
in the first home I would share with someone else.
Insist, impatiently, always impatiently,
that they go to bed early and then wait for the quiet
so we could sneak away to eat grapes
like we were learning to undress each other
or drinking sweet schnapps straight from the bottle
before we knew better.
Wait for the crunch but still find it surprised me.
Let him feed me, for once, one hand in my mouth,
the other on my head of new, downy hair.
Stand up, because finding a seat would take too long.
Not feel guilty when I looked in on small chests rising
in a peaceful dreamstate of not knowing what they’d missed.
Refuse to buy green grapes for three years
because I knew they would disappoint.
Choose the guy who said I guess grapes aren’t really poetic
after he read a poem I wrote about a nectarine
I’d eaten before I knew him.
Write the poem anyway, half out of spite.
Tell myself I had moments to spare, people I’d meet again,
years to search the world’s wide reaches for grapes
even if I didn’t, I wouldn’t, and it would be impossible.
Do it again, just the same, all of it, but I wouldn't.
Who am I kidding?
Once was enough.
Posted by Katy Jacob at 8:39 PM