And when I died, the devil came and said,
“Now here’s the deal: I’ll give you your old life
all over once again, no strings attached.
Like an actor in a play, of course, you’ll have
to follow the same script that you rehearsed
the first time through—you cannot change a glance,
a word, a gesture; but think of taking your first
steps again, and having your first romance
repeat itself, your love back from the dead,
beautiful and new and seventeen.
What matter if you see the future coming—
The cloven hoof of sorrow, loss’s horn—
her dreamy eye, her nodding head?”
Get thee behind me, Satan, I should have said.
No Deal by Ronald Wallace, from Long for this World: New and Selected Poems. © The University of Pittsburgh Press, 2003.