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Bygones -- by Marina Keegan

I had a dream the other night that I was checking my email.

That dream sucks.

And woke to woes of seniors writing

love songs for tomorrow and

Tomorrow and the melodies

That flirt us forward, whispering

the next thing and the next thing

and  – so we beat on

birds flocking south until we

circle round and realize maybe

maybe all that running wasn’t worth it.

Maybe we should build a cabin.

Or teach high school.

Or use our hands.

My palms are smooth as words –

Weak with fashion and double spaces.

I want everyone else’s club and job and class

The grass I sleep in always browner than

Than that around erasing dreams

To sit and breathe because you

Only bank for two years then it's over

And twenty two is nothing new

It’s just another chance to build

For when we’re twenty three

And twenty four

And time begins to sell for more than

Any 9 a.m. to never.

We’re not stuck.

That's the thing, we're not stuck.

We owe no one our nothings.

Yale will be what it was,

Gothic dreams of lucky, of amazing

Not a staircase or corner office contract.

At home, I walk in forest fields,

Orange light and dry trees,

Becoming slowly sleepy,

And disgusted with my vintage shoes

And the thinness of my skinny pants,

my florals laughed at by the flowers,

whispering, hip. Whispering, there’s no

sidewalk that cares.

But let me tell you, I look cool at parties

And success sufficient to make men fall in love

As we smoke again and open wines

And text to leave because the here is never

Good and I heard that thing on Chapel was fun, well do you wanna leave soon?
Who’s there
Do you wanna leave soon?

I want to bake my blackberry into blackberry pancakes

And live wire-less,

With a husband who runs in the mornings

And lots of books

And a baby who I raise…

To be anything – or nothing

Because that’s okay too.

Because working in a bookstore and having babies

And nothing and being in love is okay too.

Ambition is a choice.

Ambition is a race we chose to run

So we could get here so we could

I don’t know so we could save poor

People or invent something or be in charge.

Last winter I slept in word counts

Face pressed to table tops until the

Snow came and the sun rose

And a man came in to vacuum the floor.

And I’d be tired.

Not just sleepy, but tired.

Tired until all I wanted to do was put on something

Acoustic and romantic and vacuum castle floors.

Why do I feel like I can’t do that?


I’m not sure anymore if I want

To schedule meals and be late

And delegate because that’s what

Good leaders do.

And I’m tired of justifying with tomorrow’s bliss, because

Yesterday’s tomorrow is today and

Someday the sun is going to die

And then the human race will end and

I’ll still be texting to see if that other party’s better.

Do you wanna leave soon?

No, I want enough time to be in love

with everything.

We’re too smart to sell our time

For cocktail moments of

This is what I’ve done

And summers lost for

Three lines on a document

That can’t contain the time

We got high on pancakes

And built a snow fort.

We’re not that young.

We’ve always been young

But now we’re not that young.

And the world is so beautiful.

And this is what we’ve got, you know? This is what we’ve got and we’ll just keep flirting forward, shrinking fonts and grays in love songs to future companies who may decide they want us on their team.

The middle of the universe is here, is tonight,

And everything behind is a sunk cost

Lost in our oceans and our oceans are deep.

So I went to Yale.

So I got good grades.

So we beat on

birds flocking south until we

circle round and realize maybe

maybe all that running wasn’t worth it.

Or the snow comes, and the sun rises, and the vacuum starts,

And I cry because everything is so beautiful and so short.


  1. i miss her so much

  2. this poem gets to me every time... such an injustice that young and talented people like her go first. :(

  3. Beautiful writer. If only she could see how many people she has moved with her work.

  4. Reading The Opposite of Loneliness. Went to Barnes and Nobles and I was intrigued...haunted by the photo on the cover. I have a daughter. That an NYU graduate. I would want my daughters book read. Validated. It all mattered. Love the book. Will pass it on. "Bygones"...Thank you Marina. Your young life inspires me. A 55 year old mother, grandmother...human.


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