The problem is not the loss
of the actual but the potential
it drags into the grave behind it.
What might have been and won’t,
hanging like the smell
of bad meat cooking,
after the pan is scrubbed.

The absence of event
that renders the life a failure,
not where we didn’t succeed,
but what refused to root,
what would not take form
but slipped past again and again
unnamed, untasted.