by Ivy Page

If I knew that those Sunday-school stories I heard would become

a ball of uncertainty rolling around inside me,

if my parents hadn’t kicked me out for dating the youth pastor wannabe,

and I hadn’t moved in with the married lesbian.

If the married lesbian hadn’t decided to divorce her husband

I wouldn’t have ended up living in Athens, Georgia where

I would, in the span of a week discover that my boyfriend was

cheating on me, miscarry our baby, and get mugged.

If I hadn’t moved in with my ex-boyfriend’s mother after that

and then in with a distant cousin in Milledgeville, Georgia

where I would find my perceptions altered by practicing the loss

of time through smoke and mushrooms, multiple partners

and practicing being Good Enough* at karaoke. Or if my drinking buddy

hadn’t said that the guy running the karaoke night

was gay, so that I challenged — I would bet her a beer that I could

get him in the sack, and if he hadn’t asked for my

number that same night only to tear it up a week later because I turned him

down because I was still only seventeen and wouldn’t be

let into the bar where he wanted to take me dancing. And if the drummer

in the band I sang for hadn’t done twelve shots of white

lightning the following New Year’s and then urinated on me in bed because

he was in diabetic shock, and if I hadn’t covered the shift

delivering pizzas for the girl I worked with, and if I hadn’t gone

to the party, where the guy that ran karaoke

read poetry, and I sang bad imitations of Janis Joplin—

then I wouldn’t have ended up in place of eight month snows,

married ten years to the guy that ran karaoke, and I wouldn’t be watching our

two children recreating games of hopeful daisy chains, and

animal clouds. And if we had chosen any other branch?

* “Good Enough” Sarah McLachlan
** After W.S. Merwin’s “One of the Lives”

Any Other Branch

Ivy Page's picture

Ivy Page is a poet whose poetry has been described by Ross Gay as, "passionate, sometimes heartbreaking, sometimes hilarious poems, (which) always have a deep and generous intelligence." She lives in the White Mountains of New Hampshire with her husband and two daughters., Her love of poetry stemmed from listening to her Grandmother reading poetry aloud to her as a child. It took shape as lyrics in the music she wrote during her late teens and early twenties, and turned to poems on the page and experimentation with performance poetry over the years., Ivy Graduated from Plymouth State University with a BA in English and minor in Medieval Studies, and went on to complete her MFA in Creative Writing at New England College. She currently teaches a creative writing workshop at D Acres in Dorchester New Hampshire. Ivy has taught courses in writing, communication, publication, and history at Keene State College, Colby-Sawyer College, Plymouth State University, Granite State College, NHIT - Concord's Community College and Axia College., Her work has appeared in journals and has been anthologized nationally, and her first book Any Other Branch, will be available through Salmon Poetry of Ireland in March 2012. Her second book, Elemental, will be out with Salmon Poetry in 2014. She is the editor and founder of Organs of Vision and Speech Magazine. Ivy believes that poetry needs to be heard, so she runs two open mics for poets in New Hampshire.

Last updated November 17, 2011