The Ones Not Taken

Alex Bransky
1 min readJun 10, 2022


An old couple, both smiling and sad.

Sixty years of photographs
Some black and white
Some Polaroid
Some from “smart” phones,
Put on cups and calendars,
By our children, grandchildren
And smiles in every one

Nobody knows about the bad times
The unseen photographs, and the ones not taken
The miscarriages, the labor pains
The cancer we caught early, but scared us forever
The jobs we couldn’t quit, but desperately wanted to
The home visits from vets, knowing we waited too long to end their suffering
And wishing we had more money, to pay for their surgeries

But the worst of all
Were those final years
When something rotted in my brain
And my gentleness turned to crankiness
When you needed nothing but my tender care
And all I wanted
Was to escape this world

“You had so many great years together, Dad,
It’s time to move on”

And do what?
All I want is to wallow
I deserve to live in misery
She was my everything
She deserved better
She deserved a perfect ending
But all I ever wanted
Was an ending