By on Apr 13, 2010 in Poetry

Woman seeing different version of self in mirror

In the first parallel universe
I took my father’s advice
studied pharmacy at the University of Buffalo
moved to New Jersey to work for Pfizer
and have lived here ever since.

In another one
Sister Emiliette managed to convince me
during the eighth grade retreat.
Now I awaken each morning at six,
put on the white and black, go down
to chapel take my place at the organ.
In May I’ll make my final vows.

In the next I came of age
amid the lilacs of Christ Church Meadow
watching the spring regatta.
After one year of walks among the domes and spires
I decided to stay.
Now I live in a row house on Botley
I’m writing my thesis on Milton
and in the summer I punt down the Cherwell
singing so loud that the tourists give me dirty looks.

In another, the backpacker from Seattle
whose name I’ve long since forgotten
wasn’t there to grab me
as I started to cross the midnight Madrid street
blind to the car that tore the night in two.
I never made it home from that trip.

And in still another
I’ve never existed.
I was conceived as an idea, but got no further
so now, like all other ideas, I float
like a seed torn out from a dandelion’s wig
not asking where the wind will set me down
nor when I’ll get to choose a universe.

Wild Transitions Contents


Jeannine M. Pitas is a native of Buffalo, New York, currently living in Toronto. Her work has been published in Ghoti, Flashquake, Boxcar Poetry Review and Fresh Yarn. Her translation of Uruguayan poet Marosa Di Giorgio's History of Violets was published by Ugly Duckling Presse in October 2010.