What Do You Need for a History?

by Mark Saba


A memory that says I was there
even if you didn’t want to be.
Another version of self
that flip-flopped between what you were
and weren’t. A vague premonition

of a better future, even if
you didn’t believe it.
Rings of fire you jumped through,
the burns coming later
dried up into scars.

A checklist that followed everyone
but you. Following a way
that offered spectacular views
of foreign lands, climates
there to nurture unknowns.

And those times you strayed
holding your heart in calloused hands—
blood trailing—you were there
but once, and no one noticed
that you were gone.



A native of Pittsburgh, Mark Saba has been writing fiction, poetry, and creative nonfiction for 40 years. His most recent book publication is Flowers in the Dark (poetry). Other works include Calling the Names (poetry), Two Novellas: A Luke of All Ages / Fire and Ice, and Ghost Tracks: Stories of Pittsburgh Past. His work has appeared widely in literary magazines around the U.S. and abroad. He is also a painter, and recently retired from Yale University as a medical illustrator and graphic designer. Please see marksabawriter.com.

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