The Longest Time

My mother believes

     that every grief

          recalls, or

at least summons

     the memory of

          every other grief.

And I can’t help but

     think if that

          is so, then

it must also be true

     for joy. Just as

          it must also be

when the seasons turn

     it brings back

          every other season

or maybe just the first.

     As in the first last

          time you ever

experience something.

     I remember hearing

          Billy Joel playing

in the other room

     on the stereo

          while I was in

the other room doing

     something else,

          I forget what

and I ran to

     where the music

          was coming from

thinking it might be

     the last time

          I ever hear that song.

I was only a kid,

     and surprised by

          my mother

with the cassette case

     in her hand,

          and I realized

we could play the song

     any time we wanted.

          Even when it’s not

on the radio,

     you can bring it back

          by rewind or

fast forward,

     to the precise moment

          the song begins.

And not only that, but

     every time you hear the song

          is also every other

time you’ve heard the song.

     Every age you become

          is also every age

you’ve ever been.

     Which is why I feel

          like a child

as the days grow shorter

     and longer

          and I’m rushing

from the other room

     to see everything

          before it passes,

and I forget

     there’s nothing

          to remember.


I’m not used to endings
which is to say
I’m not used to beginning
things at least

I had no say
in the matter
I just arrived
in a manner of speaking

the same way
that things just come
and then they go away
for a time

you can tell
by the way when things
appear already
they are waving.