Future Perfect

We were girls draping our bodies 
on the railing, letting our long, 
just-shampooed hair flutter
like a summons to a future 
whose form we could hardly
fathom; we were snapping 
gum or sharing smokes, giving side-
-eye before the age of side-eye;
we believed in how flushed 
our youth made us feel, how willing 
to be tested but not give all we had 
just as our mothers admonished. 
None of us could look too far 
ahead or say: by this time, 
I will have finished clearing a path
to a life dazzled with desire; or by then, 
I will have made a circumstance 
free of pain. None of us could know
why some of us prospered 
and some of us faded away, why 
not all of us came back stronger 
than before, having outlived
the unexpected affliction.


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