Days I Delighted in Everything



I was listening to a book on tape while driving

and when the author said, “Those days I delighted in everything,”

I pulled over and found a pencil and a parking ticket stub

because surely there was a passage of life where I thought

“These days I delight in everything,” right there in the

present, because they almost all feel like that now,

memory having markered only the outline while evaporating

the inner anxieties of earlier times. Did I not disparage

my body for years on end, for instance, although, in contrast

that younger one now strikes me as near-Olympian?

And the crushing preoccupations of that same younger self

might seem magically diluted, as though a dictator

in hindsight, had only been an overboard character —

but not so. Where went the fear, dense as the sudden

dark in the woods, of being alone, or the bruise of 3:30 pm

in a silent apartment, when the disenfranchised live

only with the sunlight through the blinds, just prey

caught betwixt and between, and also heartbreak, and

again, heartbreak. I didn’t have whatever that time of life

then demanded — a book, a wedding band, a baby —

but the present, like the lie of “fair and balanced” news reporting

where creationists are granted air time with the scientists,

the present might have me believe that “in those days

I delighted in everything.” But to be … fair and balanced …

I do trust the strict part of memory, the only archivist

to have savored a passage of time and have preserved it

with the translucent green hinges licked by stamp collectors,

attaching it without hurting it, so I wanted the quote

exactly, and go back to hunt and tag those months where I

delighted in everything — then I couldn’t find the ticket stub.

I rummaged through the recycling but no luck, and I

couldn’t go back to find the passage on tape, and then I realized

I had bought the book for my husband, so I started leafing through it,

not wanting to start too far back, and not wanting

my eyes to fall on a passage in the future, the one where

she realizes that “Those days I delighted in everything,”

but it was never to happen again, just the present, from here on in.


Jessica Greenbaum (USA, 1957 -), the cover image is a found composition by Valentino Russo (ph. Diana Marrone)


Source: Poetry (October 2016):


To read more poems of the same author:

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