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It's Not Your Life
 

It's not your life you said
And I remember exactly where we were
Not the time of year
Or even the weather
But the place on the levee
With the river on the right
As we walked back
And the rusty pump
Down the bank
Among the rocks
And the kingfisher
Cackling in the cottonwoods

 

And you were fierce
The way you said it
Not detached and indifferent
Like the night before in Forestville
But frustrated almost
Wanting me to get it
Urging me to catch up
So we can play together
On the same court

 

And I felt so ashamed
For complaining
For having the selfishness
To claim this series of events
As my own
To doubt the authorship
Of this particular short story
And the meanness
To question
The hand I was dealt
When it was not even mine
And I knew it

 

But mainly I was ashamed
For showing you my ugliness
For letting you see
My limbs bleeding with the pain
Of not getting it

 

But we played big stick with Honey
And walked on
Back to the car
Between the vineyards
Watching the evening settle over Healdsburg
And slowly my life became a memory
A series of shots
Like this one
With no place left to ask the question
Then whose life is it

 

For it's not that it's not my life
Over the hills and down the river
Houses friends and harpsichords
Whose life could it be
But mine
No we're not disputing that

 

(Distracted for a moment
By the cry of an osprey
From the redwood
Looking back
At the place
Where the pain and the pleasure
Were mine
To avoid or pursue)

 

What we're saying
Back at the car now
Honey climbing in
Doors closing
Click of seat belts
Engine starting
The sudden contentment
Of nothing left to talk about
Is that
This simple crunch
Of tires on gravel
This hum of happiness
This wet dog smell
Is life
Delivered
But unaddressed

   -Tony Kendrew