“Once you collect enough regrets in life, they cease to hurt you. They are simply one more thing you collect, like age spots or ugly figurines” – Sarah Addison Allen, Other Birds

If you give a poet a quote
they will write a poem about it,

collecting scraps of torn, colored
lined paper as they read and converse,

grabbing a pencil or pen
to scratch it down before they forget it.

When they are old enough
and have collected enough scraps of paper,

they will have also collected
their regrets in life
along with other people’s words,

tucking them softly in the folds of their coats,
the down softening the sharp edges
of the pains of yesterday.

But first they will have tried
to forget these regrets

by leaving them by the side of the road
or by drowning them out,

by rinsing them out in a stream of anger
or cutting them out with a sword of excuses.

Somewhere else someone has told them
that if they draw their swords to cut water,
water still flows,

and if they lift their cups to drown their sorrows,
the sorrows are still sorry.

Regrets cannot be cut away by hate,
and sorrows can swim.

Eventually, the old poet learns
to put the cup and sword away
and accepts these regrets as a part of them,

merely stones in the road of their story,
one more poem in a book of history,
growing year after year.