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.
Mary Szybist is Associate Professor of English at Lewis & Clark College. She is most recently the author of Incarnadine, winner of the 2013 National Book Award for Poetry.