The end of the year means now I begin
more recent stories, saying “This was back in X.”
Perception of distance through the fabric-
cation of time. I’m standing in January like it’s an airport,
glancing over my shoulder for home,
which I can’t see, although it remained when I left it.
This time last year, I had a novel freshly minted &
girlfriend on suicide watch because her meds stopped working.
Pluses & minuses. I’m a poet again,
writing my history as if a castle I might explore
then leave to walk through bare gardens &
labyrinths of gray-dead oaks. Remember
last year when it was 70 degrees &
camellias pursed their candy-apple lips
in a world gone odd, in a culture of anger &
unanticipated violence? So long ago.
This month is about snow-blindness & Irish sweaters.
What seemed chaos has become routine
in the same way a prisoner, after years of confinement,
lives each day without noticing bars on the windows
of his cell. But that was further back than X for me, &
I’ve said enough about it. Let me focus
on my present past: fear of upcoming journeys
already caught in photographs, a few successes
raced beyond like mile markers, the words It will be okay
spoken too many times for comfort.
How did anyone survive it? Here we are.