After Ada Límon’s “The Conditional”

What if you stayed a little longer?
What if you told the afterlife to shove it?
What if I picked up the phone to your voice?
What if you greeted me like I was a foreign diplomat
that you had waited all day to see?
What if I hadn’t sat next to you listening to
Vivaldi’s “Spring”
as your chest heaved with gurgling fluid?
What if I had gotten the chance to say that I loved you,
not just because, but in that I missed the mornings
we would sit and have breakfast together
like families in cut-outs of cooking magazines?
What if I told you I missed the hugs,
that made me feel like someone wanted something from me?
What if you came back and we sat quietly,
leaning against each other, singing something beautiful?
What if you didn’t leave. What if you
couldn’t. What if it’s a bad dream and you’re
calling out my name, shaking my shoulder,
to ask me if I want eggs or pancakes.
Or what if I laid in silence, knowing one day,
the SD card of memories of you in my brain
will become obsolete.

Black Birds © Sandra Menefee Taylor

Kayla Gray was born and raised in Minnesota. She is currently in her last year at Metropolitan State University, where she is pursuing her BA in creative writing. She holds an AFA from Normandale Community College. She currently serves as editor at Poetry City, USA.

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Sandra Menefee Taylor is a Minnesota-based artist whose work addresses vital matters such as land, health, and food. Her work is an ongoing pursuit of meaning through the self-revelatory use of materials, historical references, and methods of working. Her work has been exhibited and collected nationally. She is a member of the Form + Content Gallery in Minneapolis.