October 28, 2015

Good Me’s Saudade of Bad Me

Good Me’s Saudade of Bad Me

baby

by Lindsey Alexander

Bad Me remembers before she was born. 
She claims being not-yet-born
                                                 is an enclosure to itself, 
like a hidden hook 
                              and eye 
on an expensive dress, 

             and mostly,
                                 I think,
             I believe her:  

She peered onto the crowns
of the heads of the already-born,
                                                    and she readied herself. 

                          Though I was not-yet-born too, I don’t recollect this process at all—
                          A small group of monks may have prayed me where I now am. 

Were we still the same one then—no bad me, no good 
me, just the one? 

The past with her hand cupped around us, as one would care for—as one would protect—a rodent—

Those earlier memories: 
                                       where Bad Me’s badness likely derives itself.

                          What is it
                                           like,
             having a Bad Me?

I’ll tell you:

                                                               We’re melted
                     to munition, the bullets gunslingers shoot into passing
                                                                                                             railcars out West.

Bad Me snug, at ease 
                                  inside the barrel
             of our home-gun—

How can she call me Good One
when it’s both of us 

in the chamber, attending 
the trigger’s command?

She’s dangerous. 

She’s useful. 

I miss her.

 

 


 Lindsey Alexander‘s poems appear in Crazyhorse, Colorado Review, and Hayden’s Ferry Review, among other magazines. In 2014, she was a scholar at the month-long NEH Institute “Reconsidering Flannery O’Connor.”

Image: from When Life is Young: a collection of verse for boys and girls, by Mary Elizabeth Dodge.