No Regrets

By MARY SZYBIST

No regrets, I used to say, believing

everything I’d done at least was mine.
Now it seems nothing is mine, not really,
except, maybe, regret. Once I didn’t want to be loved
by anyone strong enough to
pin me, by anyone with the weight to hold me

down. I kept arguing with myself, and what that meant to me
then was that I was trying to fasten an idea of myself
to my body. It wasn’t so much that I wanted
but I wanted to be the one

to want it. Let’s pin down a time, I would say,
and I’d try to picture myself showing up, figuring if I could,
I could affix the sense of myself to the act of it,
the way one pins a pattern on a mannequin
before picking a color for the thread. Now I keep trying to treat
myself

patiently, like I am my own patient, telling myself to
hold steady. I wish I had held you

differently. Wish I had spoken to you
in the same patterns as the breeze moving among
the wild gold columns in a haze of bees saying over again
what

I didn’t say long ago enough now
that I can’t say what the words were, only that I didn’t try
them.
And the not saying spread over me as if
I wanted it to, and then I couldn’t see past it.