For a spell in my youth I acted independently on the notion
that I only had a certain allotment of words in my life.

So I chose my words carefully and spoke little.
I didn’t want to run out.

Yet when my spouse first said he loved me,
I was silent.
And when my parents were dying,
I had no words.

Recently, on the way down Springer Mountain,
hanging on a branch at a crossroads of the trail,
I saw a single clog, with a note inside: “Sorry!”

If I know what I believe and walk the talk,
there should be no cause for regret.
My conscience would be free and easy.

And yet after all these years
I still listen to Dr. Hook and the Medecine Show
singing Shel Silverstein’s “The Things I Didn’t Say.”