A Blog of Seattle Arts & Lectures

“Oh, the Places You Could Go” by Kyle Gerstel

Two roads in front of you,
you take the road less traveled.
Pfft, easy.

Wait. Is that a Third road?
When did that get here?

They multiply,
or at least You start to see more and more,
but when there are more than two roads to choose from,
when you’re standing in the Center of the World,
it’s a much harder decision.

There is an overwhelming plethora of unfulfilling opportunities
But none of them sound like the Places in your Dreams;
There’s no beach with unicorns playing volleyball in the sand,
popping the balls with their horns against their will.

even though none of these roads lead to the Places in your Dreams,
you want to explore them all.

So, first, you Sit
and you Think,
Which road will bring me to a door
that will open a New World
filled with all the places I really Want to go,
Like the unicorn beach?

And there,
sitting in the Center of the World,
wanting nothing more than to be Everywhere,
it feels like the best choice is
to curl up,
maybe binge some Ted Lasso,
and stay there until this is all over.

But as soon as your back approaches the floor
after a long day of deciding to do nothing,
someone takes your pillow!
so, you lean This way,
and That way,
maybe you try This way again,
but you can’t rest without it.

so, you take one foot
and another foot
and your third foot;
Wait, when did that get here?

and you Get Up
and you Go
in a Direction
that looks interesting
to Somewhere
that looks tolerable,
and suddenly,
where the Center of the World was
is now a Place
like any other;
you can go,
but there’s no gravity pulling you to its core.

and suddenly, you’re no longer standing in the Center of the World,
You are the Center of Your World
on a road unclaimed,
for if we claim a road, we lose the freedom to leave it.

You get to an intersection: left, right, or straight.
Three, dammit.
I guess you can turn around, so four. Argh!

But then,
you see a unicorn sparkling, hiding behind the trees.
There’s no road there.
Well, there wasn’t one,
but the ghost of possibility has always been there.

And then, the men who trek the roads all day
will come back to this spot and say,
chompers agape,
Huh. When did that get here?

Kyle Gerstel is a Youth Poet Fellowship cohort member from Mercer Island High school. Kyle read this poem at our SAL Presents event with Tom Hanks on Wednesday, May 17, 2023, at Benaroya Hall.