Ghazal of the Life Not Lived

You told me there was another life you wished you’d lived.
I said this life was all I wanted to have lived.

For you there was another you could have been and weren’t.
For me there was only a life we had and lived.

But the life you wanted was quicker than eyes or hands.
It slipped like a wet plate and cracked apart where we had lived.

That other life you wanted gushed from a broken pipe, unstoppable,
And when it dried, it left its odor where I lived.

The life I wanted lost all its weight and levitated.
A helium moon floats over where we lived.

I envied you the life you were and wanted, the mid-years glamour
Of that choice.  Do you finally have a sense of having lived?

Your other life has rendered this one ersatz, and me foolish.
The truth is I don’t want to know the way you’ve lived.

“George,” you say, “I need to believe our life was not a waste.”
I can’t reassure you.  All I know is that I lived the life I wanted to have lived.


GEORGE FRANKLIN tries to squeeze in as much as he can: he is a poet, teacher, critic, yogi, father, and attorney.  His poems have been published in Salamander, The Threepenny Review, The Quarterly, and Verse, and his criticism in ELH.  Ghazals have been a great favorite since he first heard Agha Shahid Ali read years ago in Cambridge, MA.  He now lives in Miami, Florida, where the streets stretching west to the Everglades remind him of the lines of ghazals.