Short Stories

Choose-Your-Own-Adventure: Poetry Edition: Robert Frost Edition

Tell me, friend: Are you BORED of traditional poetry? Have you grown TIRED of rhyme, meter, and verse? Do you sometimes FLY into howling rages and embark upon methamphetamine-fueled, multistate child-disembowelment sprees upon discovering poetry books on your bookshelf? If so, then listen closely, because I’m about to share a revolutionary, lifechanging product that will blow your mind through the top of your skull and into low-earth orbit where it shall remain until The Great Wild Goddess of Orbital Decay swats it out of the sky like some cheap Soviet satellite.

What if I told that written poetry was on its way out? What if I told you you there was another way to enjoy poetry? What if I told you that instead of READING words arranged on a page, you could rip a poem open, hollow it out, and wriggle INSIDE of it in order to literally EXPERIENCE the thoughts and emotions of its author?

If you’re like most people, you’ll almost certainly respond to these questions by screaming until your father runs into the room wielding a fire poker and bellows, “Sweet Christ! How the hell did you get into our house?! Answer me! ANSWER ME YOU SON OF A BITCH! Cheryl?…CHERYL! Call the police! There’s a goddamn MANIAC in Katie’s room! Jesus God, HURRY!”

That, or you’ll just ask me to explain what I’m talking about. For simplicity’s sake, I’m just gonna go ahead and assume you’ve asked the latter question so I can get started.

The following is an interactive poem. Read the question carefully before choosing a response.

Two roads diverge in a yellow wood. What do you do?

  1. Take the right path.
  2. Take the left path.
  3. Just stand there.
  4. Although it is physically impossible, you take both paths at the same time.
  5. Make a feint toward the left path and then run quick down the right path before the sentient trees can react.
  6. Arbitrarily choose one of the paths since they appear nearly identical, knowing full-well that later on in life you will claim to have taken “the road less traveled” in an attempt seem wise when in reality you are simply retroactively assigning far more meaning to what is almost certainly a meaningless decision.
  7. Travel far enough down one path to confirm that it is the one which advances the story and then backtrack and take the other path because obviously there is an item down that one.
  8. Refuse to even entertain the question, since “This isn’t even how a choose-your-own adventure story works,” and, “Seriously, have you ever even read a choose-your-own adventure book before? It’s a whole branching, ongoing story. All you did was ask a dumb question and then list various answers. There isn’t even a resolution or anything. Worthless. Thanks for wasting my time. Idiot.”
  9. Just turn around and go home. Too hot out.
  10. Ask one of the paths to answer a personal question only the “real” path would know the answer to. If it answers correctly, it is the correct path. If not, take the other.
  11. Declare “I make my own path.” and sprint into the thick underbrush between the paths. Branches rake and scrape at your face and you don’t make any progress at all. Eventually you get tangled in some vines and sticks and can’t even move. You are thirsty and there are a bunch of those spiny burrs stuck to your socks and they are poking your ankles. You hear soft rustling nearby and what if it’s a snake? You struggle to free yourself but somehow only manage to become more tangled-up. Eventually you realize that it is pointless to struggle. There is no escape. This is the end. You resign yourself to death.


The correct answer is #1. The rightmost path is the correct one.