Give me back
my childhood. I’d know how to use
it now. This time, I’d savor the sun
thumping down each night like a pink
Spauldeen. And give me back seventh
grade, Mitchell Gorstein, all those silly
minutes I wasted, waiting for you to
notice me. Turns out, you were thinking
of Judy in the third row. Give me back
those achy nights in high school when
I cried for hours over Bobby Traub. How
he dumped me cause I wouldn’t sneak
out. Give me back how I screamed it
all on my mother. Better yet, give
me back my mother. And give me back
the night I told my husband, the one
man who finally loved me, that he
wasn’t enough, and that I found
someone who was. Give me back
his broken face, his broken heart.
No better yet, don’t. But most of all,
give me back one morning, any morning,
glittering like Christmas, my future
wrapped in boxes waiting to be opened,
tissue paper and possibility waiting
to rise up like the just-woken sun.
Francine Witte is the author of the poetry chapbooks Only, Not Only (Finishing Line Press, 2012) and First Rain (Pecan Grove Press, 2009), winner of the Pecan Grove Press competition, and the flash fiction chapbooks Cold June (Ropewalk Press), selected by Robert Olen Butler as the winner of the 2010 Thomas A. Wilhelmus Award, and The Wind Twirls Everything (MuscleHead Press). A retired English teacher, Francine lives in New York.
This poem previously appeared in Willow Review.