View out of an airplane window

Why are our lives so full of things

that didn’t happen? We carry
phantom luggage of journeys
we never took, leave futures
packaged behind us in the past,
awkward gifts we give ourselves.
We dare not date them definitely,
but we feel them waiting for us,
counting out the days on our calendar,
waiting for a holiday that never comes.
Not even the present is definite,
yet we plan and plan while
our steps carry us elsewhere.
Shadow calendar, more nebulous
than a figure of stars, less practical
than an almanac of planting times,
road map of days that evade the actual.

Marc Malandra’s work has appeared in nearly 30 different venues, including Ascent, Caveat Lector, Flyway, Orange Coast Review, Poetry Northwest, and South Florida Poetry Review. He teaches American literature at Biola University in La Mirada, California.

*Photo courtesy of Road Fun.