I was the wild-haired girl by the side of the road,
thumb out, steering a jittery course
between terror and boredom.
Hours later, if you cared to look,
you’d find me rattling around
in the back of a truck,
carried headlong into the next thing.
It was just my luck
to have been born when I was,
on the cusp of a chaotic abundance,
and, as my sister said,
I was the fastest sperm,
or maybe just the most persistent.
What luck I’ve had since then,
to sleep in the wet spot.
What luck that my heart splintered
into ten million silver needles
each one on fire to embroider
love-stained and prisoner of the self
on red satin pillows.
Lucky to live a lifetime
in the years between losses,
to lie awake at night, wide-eyed
with the doleful sirens and the restless mice;
to sweat a misspent word, to rue the past,
to have a past to rue.
Luckiest of all: to have yearned mightily,
and learned a little,
to have lived inside desire
like Jonah in the whale,
perpetually greedy and hopeful,
making a lifetime out of each mouthful.
And then to find you! Luck
at the eleventh hour;
undeserved, red-faced, panting,
an overworked guardian angel,
from all we can’t see, that love
was with us all along,
a forgotten blue-and-green marble in our back pocket,
an exact replica of the living world.
—Alison Luterman,Oakland, CA