Abruptly, unassertively, the year starts,
as freeways close and roofs collapse,
and all kinds of incidents give nervure to the map:
a stitch in time, a local hero here,
boys falling in tune with the ageless argument.
So out of the turquoise turmoil a name
implodes like a star, having made its point.
And the seasons, welcome as you know,
are seen packing it in. Maybe add some rust
at a crucial jointure, no? But who am I
to be telling you your business. Next, young and beautiful,
emerging from a door, casting your essence
along the face of today’s precipice, you see “there’s no tomorrow,”
only avatars waiting in the wings, more or less patiently.
This is what it takes for you to do what’s best,
covering all the exits.
Oh, there is a danger there?
Who would have thought it in today’s heat?
But on the other hand, why just be standing
while its morose page rolls over,
an encumbrance to all, not just ourselves?
And when twilight licks appreciatively at the sky,
your answer will be there in the circuitry,
not bypassed. For you to hold,
to genuflect with.
A shadow of a flagon crossed your face:
The cease-fire is improving?
And in this starting to be in something, what had the older
children been doing? Taking lessons still to be paid for,
impinging on what comes next. Comes now.
Soon there is something to be said for everything,
he said, whiplash, whippets; why even my identity
is strange to me now, a curiosity. When someone comes later,
who will I be talking with? The erroneous vision
made no mention of this. Its conquering agenda is complete,
and we, of course, are incomplete, destined to ourselves
and its fitful version of eternity:
the one with chapter titles.
More worldliness to celebrate. And yet, someone
will take it from you, needy thing.
© John Ashbery