If I Had Three Lives
      After “Melbourne” by the Whitlams
by Sarah Russell

If I had three lives, I’d marry you in two.
The other? Perhaps that life over there
at Starbucks, sitting alone, writing — a memoir,
maybe a novel or this poem. No kids, probably,
a small apartment with a view of the river,
and books — lots of books, and time to read.
Friends to laugh with, and a man sometimes,
for a weekend, to remember what skin feels like
when it’s alive. I’d be thinner in that life, vegan,
practice yoga. I’d go to art films, farmers markets,
drink martinis in swingy skirts and big jewelry.
I’d vacation on the Maine coast and wear a flannel shirt
weekend guy left behind, loving the smell of sweat
and aftershave more than I did him. I’d walk the beach
at sunrise, find perfect shell spirals and study pockmarks
water makes in sand. And I’d wonder sometimes
if I’d ever find you.

IMAGE: “Woman writing” by Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema (1902).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: It’s tempting to think about the road not taken. But for me, it always leads back to the man I love and married many years ago.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Sarah Russell has returned to poetry after a career teaching, writing,and editing academic prose. Her poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Kentucky Review, Red River Review, Misfit Magazine, The Houseboat, Shot Glass Journal, Ekphrastic Magazine, and Silver Birch Press, among others. Find more of her poetry at