Might Have Been

I fell in love

at 17

with a boy,

who called me “beautiful”;

he wasn’t remarkable:



rolling his eyes,

asking me to play

my flute as if his life depended on it,

a runner

whose bad habit was he smelled his jacket

in a way that mystified me–

I wanted to be everything to him

and he to me

and sometimes I thought he was.

though he’d push back

speak of a girl in Lebanon who he thought

was the most beautiful creature he’d ever seen

I was too young then to know the difference,

between beauty and substance

and I was too young to know

whether I should hang on or let go

and I was too young to know I was stupid

when an old man wanted to shag me

not promising me love

or anything, nothing now that I realize

but glorification for deeds proceeding

and I was too young and stupid

to know that coffee with my first love

might have been redemption

and his life…

and then he was gone in the cold waters

of Boston Harbor and I’d wonder ever since

what my (our) life might have been


Sascha Darlington

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