Volume 2 Number 1
Winter 2008

 

Parallel Universe

Robert Hardy

	for Shannon

When I met you downtown, I think I understood
why Julia and genevieve acted as if I wasn’t there—
perhaps I wasn’t. Perhaps I was only seeing into
the parallel universe where you were living my life.
I recognized the stroller, the cantankerous toddler
in a moment of calm, the preschooler aloof but
absorbing everything around her like a sponge.
I think I recognized the happiness, both precarious
and profound, that sometimes visited me on such
spring mornings, when the world had finally expanded
to its proper size. I think I recognized the exhaustion,
and the claustrophobia of my own personality—
and I think I knew how tenderly and how impatiently
we can remake our lives around the ones we love.
We become someone else, but we are still ourselves.
We may come to wonder how many times we’ve passed
ourselves on the street, smiled in recognition,
felt that stirring of envy, and gratitude, and relief.