No Deal


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. 


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