to myself who you are
by Daisy Bassen
I didn’t love you, never once,
Not your bright male beauty,
Striking as the swan’s white throat
Against the dark water of a lake,
Not the eagerness of your desire
That I have not known again.
But these years later, measured
In your children and mine, not ours,
I am still angry that you left,
That I was not the first to leave
Like the singular swan wanting
A true mate, another white cloud
Hovering on the black skim
Of the water’s painted glass, gliding
Beneath an old bridge, in pursuit.
You were resistible, but I was not.
When you smile at me now, I think
How much we’ve wasted, vastness,
How I can’t remember even your first
Terrifying kiss or its last companion.
* * * * *
Daisy Bassen is a poet and practicing physician who graduated from Princeton University’s Creative Writing Program and completed her medical training at The University of Rochester and Brown. Her work has been published in Oberon, McSweeney’s, and PANK among other journals. She was the winner of the So to Speak 2019 Poetry Contest, the 2019 ILDS White Mice Contest and the 2020 Beullah Rose Poetry Prize. She was doubly nominated for the 2019 Best of the Net Anthology and for a 2019 and 2020 Pushcart Prize. She lives in Rhode Island with her family.