How to change one’s destiny

A woman stands on a stage
giving a talk about the pivotal
moment in life that gives us
our central narrative—

For one person, it is at six,
when his parents lock him in a closet
for having misbehaved. For another,
it is the time an uncle sticks

his hand under her waistband
then says she cannot ever tell.
And what were they thinking,
the parents that sent away

the still unformed child
through the hunter, the woodsman,
the maid? The future at times shows
its frightening face; and something

in human nature wants to think
a destiny can be pushed away,
averted, exchanged, unmade.
Didn’t Oedipus himself go

away yet wind up running blind
into the arms of his fate? Perhaps
he should have gone to a Ted Talk
instead. Perhaps he should have

learned how to nip in the bud
that simmering wick: one end saying
I can do anything, and the other
saying there is nothing I can do.

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