I used to like connections: Leaves floating on the water Like faces floating on the surface of a dream, On the surface of a swimming pool Once the holocaust was complete. And then I passed through stages of belief And unbelief, desire and restraint. I found myself repeating certain themes Ad interim, until they began to seem quaint And I began to feel myself a victim of coincidence, Inhabiting a film whose real title was my name -- Inhabiting a realm of fabulous constructions Made entirely of words, all words I should have known, and should have connected Until they meant whatever I might mean. But they're just fragments really, No more than that. A coast away, And then across an ocean fifty years away, I felt an ashen figure gliding through the leaves -- Bewitchment of intelligence by leaves -- A body floating clothed, facedown, A not-so-old philosopher dying in his bed -- At least I thought I felt those things. But then the line went dead And I was back here in the cave, another ghost Inhabiting the fourth part of the soul And waiting, and still waiting, for the sun to come up. Tell them I've had a wonderful life. Tell Mr. DeMille I'm ready for my close-up.
From North Point North by John Koethe. Copyright © 2003 by John Koethe. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins. All rights reserved.