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Eleven Months

ISSUE:  Summer 2002

So you’re back exactly where you sat eleven months ago
with the same itchy fatigue around your eyes.
The coffee is slightly less good than it was then.
The sunlight is as boldly uninstructive.
Death of a friend’s father this week.
Painful inflammation of your elbow last week.
Car crash you almost witnessed a month ago.
Old friends getting divorced in Denver.
Pain and mess.

Idea of being simultaneously involved in all this
as required yet also a center round which
it all orbits with a beauty. That sounds silly.
Idea of being at the center of your life
but not a still point. Idea of being both
very aware and peaceful. Not possible?

To be unsurprised by the sensation
that eleven months have revealed nothing
and that three years have been mostly minor folly
and that twenty-five years ago running on Taber Avenue
in the dark you were the same child-adult
vaguely baffled, the same one
mislabeling a package at the post office on Thayer Street
sweating green sweat. To be unsurprised
by all the stasis inside the hustle
and to say “Of course” without being smug.
To accept the picture of yourself age 44
and age 48 and age 52 writing a letter about
“I haven’t been able to quite focus this month. . . .”
To nod knowing all this
not sleepy but with some beautiful centered
riding of the wave but now this sounds dumb. But

idea of something that would be not victory
but very much not the other thing either.


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