If I’m Not
by Bethany Reid

If I’m not the woman you took me for
then take your pick of women, scoop one

from Earth’s bounty, the heart
of a melon, a tomato sweet

off the vine. If irises
in late afternoon remind you of what’s lost,

yellow squash sprawling coercive as weeds,
if blue darner dragonflies threaten

to stitch your life back together, then stitch your life
together. If your eye falls

on me, then know that behind me
the women line up, their hair

a reddish gold as if you’d stumbled
into a Titian portrait. If your lips must be stung,

then let them be stung in the garden,
swollen and honeyed with kisses.

AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION: Me with my husband, who keeps choosing me. Taken in our backyard in Mukilteo, Washington.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: This poem has had a particularly long trajectory. I first drafted it in 2009, and it has gone through several incarnations. I write a lot of poems, or draft a lot, and many get left behind. This one kept calling me back to it. Your prompt for the If I submissions brought it to mind, and I found myself revising it again. I like the result.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Bethany Reid’s poetry has appeared in numerous on-line and print journals, including EIL, Calyx, Stringtown, Pontoon, Santa Clara Review, and the anthology All We Can Hold. Her most recent book, Sparrow, won the 2012 Gell Poetry Prize. She blogs at

AUTHOR PHOTO: Bethany Reid, selfie on the ferry, 2014