By the time I receive this letter,
it will be years before I start,
because time-travel is a lie.
Writing to one's younger self
probably won't change anything
that made me want to write this
exercise in begging my own past
to forgive me, in the first place.
Forget the usual time travel tropes;
assume nothing I do to the past
is going to radically alter anything.
Never mind re-written futures;
never mind fractal parallels;
There's plenty I can screw up
in the time period where I live.
I warn 17-year old me, "Avoid
romantic anythings with women
named Amy or Ann or Jennifer."
But I'd likely make very similar
sad story mistakes, just different
names carved on my soft inner-skin.
I worry 17 year-old me, receiving
this time-traveled letter, and surging
with youthful sureness, might re-write
me as a paladin of romance , doomed
and too beautiful. I worry he'd worship
that. Better he shred the letter, "Forget
you old man! I'm gonna be an astronaut."