Thursday, March 13, 2014


There's no use in regret. You can't change anything.

Your mother died unhappy with the way you turned

out. You and your father were not on speaking terms

when he died, and you left your wife for no good
reason. Well, it's past. You may as well regret missing

out on the conquest of Mexico. That would have been

just your kind of thing back when you were eighteen:

a bunch of murderous Spaniards, out to destroy a

culture and get rich. On the other hand, the Aztecs

were no great shakes either. It's hard to know whom

to root for in this situation. The Aztecs thought they

had to sacrifice lots of people to keep the sun coming

up every day. And it worked. The sun rose every day.

But it was backbreaking labor, all that sacrificing.

The priests had to call in the royal family to help,

and their neighbors, the gardener, the cooks.... You

can see how this is going to end. You are going to

have your bloody, beating heart ripped out, but you

are going to have to stand in line, in the hot sun, for

hours, waiting your turn.

Regret by Louis Jenkins, from Tin Flag: New and Selected Prose Poems.
Will o' the Wisp Books. © 2013

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