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Alive Together

by
 Speaking of marvels, I am alive
together with you, when I might have been
alive with anyone under the sun,
when I might have been Abelard's woman
or the whore of a Renaissance pop
or a peasant wife with not enough food
and not enough love, with my children
dead of the plague.
I might have slept in an alcove next to the man with the golden nose, who poked it into the business of stars, or sewn a starry flag for a general with wooden teeth.
I might have been the exemplary Pocahontas or a woman without a name weeping in Master's bed for my husband, exchanged for a mule, my daughter, lost in a drunken bet.
I might have been stretched on a totem pole to appease a vindictive god or left, a useless girl-child, to die on a cliff.
I like to think I might have been Mary Shelley in love with a wrong-headed angel, or Mary's friend.
I might have been you.
This poem is endless, the odds against us are endless, our chances of being alive together statistically nonexistent; still we have made it, alive in a time when rationalists in square hats and hatless Jehovah's Witnesses agree it is almost over, alive with our lively children who--but for endless ifs-- might have missed out on being alive together with marvels and follies and longings and lies and wishes and error and humor and mercy and journeys and voices and faces and colors and summers and mornings and knowledge and tears and chance.

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