I could have been born to be a Pacific-Island fisherman
waking each day to an ocean sunrise
the problem would be that I hate the taste of anything from water
are there fisherpeople who do not like fish?
I could have been born into the path of a 19th century house wife
you’ll forgive me, I hope if I tell you that’s my own personal version of hell
Medicine still making of child-birth an almost terminal illness
still not allowed so much – no vote, no voice, no property ownership
no, no, no
and I am so me that I would not be well-liked and probably wouldn’t
have to worry about that child-bearing thing, because no man in his right mind of the time
would even consider marrying what would surely be seen as a
harridan-in-the-making of the worst sort
I could have been born into unimaginable luxury
a Vanderbilt or the daughter of one of the many princes and kings inhabiting our planet
with more than my fair share at my fingertips
and if I had been, I wonder would I have been bothered by this largesse?
Would I have rebelled and run away from it all?
Or would I have succumbed to the temptation of entitlement
that this was mine because God or fate or some obscure sense of merit deemed it so?
Would I have even liked me then?
I could have been born a farmer, where life is simple if not easy
with each day plotted out before me, organized by the course of the stars
and the earth’s rhythmic movement from one season through another
the repetition being where I found my beauty
and the dirt dirtiness of the earth where I found my grounding
I could have been born unwanted
unsure of each moment, fearful
of every new thing
I could have been born a bird
freed to spread my wings
and fly the gulf-stream of things
soaring high above all save my
fellow birds – and planes
All things considered, I think I’ll take the me that is
rather than the me that could have been
although I do wonder what it might be like
to be that fish-hating fisherman