they told me it would be this way

and then of course there are the domestic terminals,
the whitening strips, the movie theaters and the mall.
have they themselves changed, have all their promises?

is it what my ancestors warned me about, smilingly,
that old phenomenon of getting up and growing big
whereby the wishings of the heart grow small?

in those overstuffed la-z-boys in those too-hot rooms
of my childhood, they would rock and sometimes smoke,
leaning back, mumbling, as if to say,

this part isn’t that important,
you’ll figure it out anyway, later.
it’s just that the shine always wears off.

the rueful smiles, the distant remembering expression,
the whole experience stands out
not because I knew what was going on,

but only because it smacked of symbolism.
they sat like shaman-birds, disillusioned yet enchanted
in some other way, swaying softly on a wire. disappointed,

perhaps. but content all the same, and wise. so wise.
even now, at my most aged state so far, I resist it.
I find myself keeping to the streams and woods,

those friends which have not yet disappointed me:
the muskrats who continue to fear, the faithful migrating flocks,
the great round stones that watchfully guard the beach where we kissed

the last time it was still good, even though
the kissing and the goodness no longer shine, nor thrill,
and have themselves long since been carried out beyond the breakers.


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