I Go Back to October 1944

Jane Chance


I want to say to you, wearing the beaded crepe de Chine
in your wedding photo: Get your passport first.
The one you haven’t received because you didn’t apply in time.
Can you even leave Toronto for the States without one?
And what is a honeymoon
without a bride? So cancel the wedding.
But marry him, eventually. And please,
get a good physical, you know, just in case.

So he goes alone on the honeymoon
rather than lose his deposit. What do you do
while he’s away? Do you moon over him
in front of his photo and wonder if he loves you?
I understand, you are both young and poor—
during the Depression he even ate lard sandwiches.
Otherwise, you wouldn’t be so foolish
about marrying at all.

Wait. Now I think about it, he doesn’t go alone.
No, he cancels the trip, gets his deposit back,
and you both go to Niagara Falls,
on the Canadian side. Yes, this makes more sense.
The other is likely false, a tale your sister
tells me decades later, after you had died,
when she is angry at him for playing golf
instead of fixing her furnace.

So, never mind! Go ahead,
cut the cake, laugh, kiss, dance.
In three months you’ll be pregnant
and will give birth—not to that silly boy
my father will decide to name after himself—
but to that baby girl with the golden curls,
the one you always wanted.




Jane Chance published her first book of poems, Only Begetter, in 2014. Her poetry has appeared in many journals, including Antigonish Review, Ariel, Dalhousie Review, Icarus (Trinity College Dublin), Kansas Review, The Literary Review, Nimrod, Southern Humanities Review, Wascana Review, and others . The Andrew W. Mellon Distinguished Professor Emerita of English at Rice, she has published twenty-two books on medieval literature and received NEH and Guggenheim Fellowships and an honorary doctorate from Purdue University.



Back to Table of Contents