In the Distance (Poem)

In the Distance

In the distance I saw

a girl, slim and small, green eyes

and braided hair.

And I loved her then,

maybe I didn’t know it,

but my bones did, and my eyes

(my mind is always last to know).

She was in the distance, across

a large room,

dressed in a light turquoise dress

and white shoes

Eventually, reckless and anxious,

I asked her out in muttered stages:

“Do you know who I am?”

“Do you find me radically offensive?”

“Will you go out with me?”

She answered:

“Yes.”

“No.”

and “How old are you?”

Then, relieved and suave

(as I thought),

I answered:

“I’m not as old as I am.”

Yes, that was nonsense,

but as is often true in the times of

crucial experiment in our lives,

we bridge from one understanding

of who we are to another via some paradox

or other, some unintended piece of prophecy.

For indeed I am not as old as I am still,

just as I wasn’t then, in the distance of the past,

and the woman whose life interpenetrates mine,

who is as much the author and finisher of all I have done

as I am, synergistically, my lover and fellow-worker,

has lived with me, and lived with me, for these many years.

I still stand before her as I did then, hat in hand,

overcoated against the world, flustered and inarticulate,

lost and found in the distance of my own thoughts, talking

nonsense when I should be not be talking;

but, as she did then, she smiles at my mumuration, and now bids me back

to her, to all that we have been and are and shall be together,

as it all trisects the present

Today

I recall the advent of her

in the distance

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