Scroll of My Regrets

The scroll of my regrets
can unroll out of sight,
flip over and roll back
filled on that side as well.

They can leap out, creep out.
They can revive my guilt
— at a moment's notice —
and sharpen pang's mem'ry.

If all of my regrets
are something to learn from,
templates stamped in bold red,
life rocks to steer clear of,
why have I not used them
— these finely crafted tools —
to move to calm waters
to let go the turmoil.

But the rudder is stiff,
unyielding in the hands
of a perfectionist.
So my regrets stay set.

There are times when I can...
cover them with music,
bury them with reading,
smother them with movies,
distract them with puzzles.
Quiet, though, brings them back,
shining like pricking pins.
And my regrets remain.

So the only thing left
is to start scratching off
all the puny regrets
to whittle down the list;
to winnow out the dregs,
shake loose the lesser ones,
fling away all the chaff,
sling away all the slag.

I must learn to gently
slap me upside my head
to clean away the webs,
to find clearer focus

Until all that remain
are twelve golden regrets
pencilled to only fill
a single index card.

Excuse me, it is time
for another head whack.

Harry W. Yeatts Jr.