In the end one simply withdraws From others and time, one's own time, Becoming an imaginary Everyman Inhabiting a few rooms, personifying The urge to tend one's garden, A character of no strong attachments Who made nothing happen, and to whom Nothing ever actually happened—a fictitious Man whose life was over from the start, Like a diary or a daybook whose poems And stories told the same story over And over again, or no story. The pictures And paintings hang crooked on the walls, The limbs beneath the sheets are frail and cold And morning is an exercise in memory Of a long failure, and of the years Mirrored in the face of the immaculate Child who can't believe he's old.
From Ninety-fifth Street. Copyright © 2009 by John Koethe. Used with permission of HarperCollins Publishers.