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Waiting For My Life by Linda Pastan

This time tomorrow I’ll have arrived somewhere else. I wonder how empty the road will be, riding into the darkness. I wonder if I’ll feel afraid, but also excited. Like I want to throw my life out the window, at least the one I’ve known, and had. If only for a week.

This time tomorrow I’ll be a stranger, perhaps even to myself. If anything, maybe that’s the kind of freedom that comes with a price I’m willing to pay—shed the skin, shed the self. If only for a while.

I was going through my letters to M., about three years old. I wrote: “…perhaps that is why I am doing this. Perhaps that is why I am working to make room for some changes–because I do not want a small life. And it is quite small, where I am. It is quite small.”

Waiting For My Life
Linda Pastan

I waited for my life to start
for years, standing at bus stops
looking into the curved distance
thinking each bus was the wrong bus;
or lost in books where I would travel
without luggage from one page
to another; where the only breeze
was the rustle of pages turning,
and lives rose and set
in the violent colors of suns.

Sometimes my life coughed and coughed:
a stalled car about to catch,
and I would hold someone in my arms,
though it was always someone else I wanted.
Or I would board any bus, jostled
by thighs and elbows that knew
where they were going; collecting scraps
of talk, setting them down like bird song
in my notebook, where someday I would go
prospecting for my life.

This is from Carnival Evening by Linda Pastan, published by W.W. Norton & Company, 1998.

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