Wednesday, October 23, 2019


Fear of the Future

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.

John Koethe
Walking Backwards
Poems 1966-2016
Farrar, 2018