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What If I Don't?

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I always thought that I’d turn out to be
Prettier, kinder
Smarter, better-liked
Attend Harvard, Yale or Oxford –
Only the best for me –
Be published,
Write three complete novels, at least
Have a
Happy family, children with a
Childhood like mine,
Traveling,
Learning
From everything and everyone
Life-long friends
I could confide in day or night,
A husband
Who understood wrong or right,
Who was a
Feminist, an activist,
But not a radical
With a sense of humor and
Maybe a good sense of style
I always thought that I’d turn out to be
Better,
Liked by myself more than I am now,
More
Confident, more
Sure of myself, better in
Every single sense,
Retaining what I like and losing what I
Don’t
Skinnier, prettier
With a smidge more self-control
Excitement in my life,
No boredom, no
Intense grief, never
Lonesome
But


What if I don’t?
I’ve always taken it for granted
That in high school I’d be better,
But it’s so near now, and I
Know myself, to a point; so
What if I don’t?
What if I
Throw my life away on something, or
Just don’t ‘bloom’ the way I thought I would?
What if I
Become obese, lose
Any self-respect I have,
Start running
After others,
Not knowing they would come after me, what if I
Never like myself again
And fail a class,
What if I
Don’t have any friends
Because I forget the last, what if I
Get terrible grades, not a scholarship
To
Harvard
When I’m eighteen
Or twenty
Depending whether or not I
Go to the Army
In Israel,
Or stay in France
Or in Boston
And never forgive myself
Or those who didn’t push me enough, I don’t know,
What if I
Screw up
And let it all go?
What if
I don’t?





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