By W.D. Ehrhart
I’m always amazed when people say
they have no regrets. Robert Redford,
for instance; Ingrid Bergman, Elena
Kagan, Drew Barrymore, Susan Gale,
Jennifer Aniston, William Schreyer.
Henry Kissinger, for chrissake!
Are they serious? Lying? Delusional?
I’ve got more regrets than I can count:
taunting David Smits to the point of tears,
calling Barbara Kaufman “Barn” for years,
putting my father out of the car on US309
(how he got home I never asked),
blowing up frogs with firecrackers,
killing a pregnant snake.
That and a whole lot more, and that
was before I even got out of high school.
Then I joined the Marines. You want to talk
regrets? How much time do you have?
Blood on my hands for killing people
who didn’t deserve to die; helping
to turn a country into a graveyard,
receiving medals for doing the bidding
of leaders who should have been doing time.
Heard enough? I’m only warming up.
Making my mother cry for giving me a tie
at Christmas with a Liberty Bell motif
(none too keen on the USA after that war).
Kicking my wife out of the car in Carolina.
Throwing up drunk in front of my daughter.
How do you live a life with no regrets?
St. Francis maybe, Mother Teresa, Gandhi.
Henry Kissinger? Certainly not me.
W. D. Ehrhart's most recent poetry collections are Thank You for Your Service: Collected Poems (McFarland, 2019) and Wolves in Winter (Between Shadows Press, 2021). He is a retired high school teacher and a veteran of both the US Marine Corps and Vietnam Veterans Against the War.