Page 43 - WTP Vol. XI #3
P. 43

 The Years
You knew how to count: it only made sense that the one direction to move in was up. Elders had been warning of evanescence,
so when a meeting dragged or your car stalled,
you grieved the waste of small eternities
and wished you’d been lectured on patience, resolve,
self-discipline, not whatever it meant to seize the day before it fades. You took dutiful notes or awaited the tow, as better possibilities
receded. Maybe the wisdom of the old
was overrated. They had surely forgotten
how long they once stood at the bus stop, cold
and bored. How many weeks it took the postman
to bring crucial news, and never on Sundays.
How they lay in the grass, eyeing indifferent heavens
and plotting escape. How the winter holidays brought loneliness and too little light, the houses in their cheer strangely empty—or were they?
You couldn’t trust anyone’s recall. Their spouses were constantly challenging details. “Have fun while you still can,” they repeated without
concrete examples, without acknowledgment of how many perils had come into range. They imagined what they would have done
in retrospect; they know who they became. How sweet and mistaken their confidence that the ending would not have changed.
Su is the author of five books of poems, most recently Peach State (University of Pittsburgh, 2021), named by Georgia Center for the Book as one of 2022’s “Books All Georgians Should Read.” Her po- ems have appeared in many magazines and journals, including The New Yorker, Poetry, Massachusetts Review, New England Review, and in the Academy of American Poets “Poem-a-Day” series. Her work can also be found in five volumes of The Best American Poetry. She teaches at Dickinson College.

   41   42   43   44   45