Helen Wickes

Cheerful Defense of the Realm

Once I used to be and desperately wanted,
but in the beginning I wondered,
though once upon a time I secretly knew.
At first I declared; then I believed.
After a while I noticed, but not enough.
In the end I still wanted. In the middle
I was lost, very lost. In the meantime
I complained. As a general rule I felt.
When it was over, I gently explained
how I had guessed according to the stars.
Apropos of nothing I apologize.
With hindsight I throw up my hands in praise.
Under the circumstances, I’ll take another.
Given a second chance, I’d choose the blue.

Helen Wickes
Cheerful Defense of the Realm is from In Search of Landscape (Sixteen Rivers Press, 2007).