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Autumn Perspective

by
 Now, moving in, cartons on the floor,
the radio playing to bare walls,
picture hooks left stranded
in the unsoiled squares where paintings were,
and something reminding us
this is like all other moving days;
finding the dirty ends of someone else's life,
hair fallen in the sink, a peach pit,
and burned-out matches in the corner;
things not preserved, yet never swept away
like fragments of disturbing dreams
we stumble on all day.
.
.
in ordering our lives, we will discard them, scrub clean the floorboards of this our home lest refuse from the lives we did not lead become, in some strange, frightening way, our own.
And we have plans that will not tolerate our fears-- a year laid out like rooms in a new house--the dusty wine glasses rinsed off, the vases filled, and bookshelves sagging with heavy winter books.
Seeing the room always as it will be, we are content to dust and wait.
We will return here from the dark and silent streets, arms full of books and food, anxious as we always are in winter, and looking for the Good Life we have made.
I see myself then: tense, solemn, in high-heeled shoes that pinch, not basking in the light of goals fulfilled, but looking back to now and seeing a lazy, sunburned, sandaled girl in a bare room, full of promise and feeling envious.
Now we plan, postponing, pushing our lives forward into the future--as if, when the room contains us and all our treasured junk we will have filled whatever gap it is that makes us wander, discontented from ourselves.
The room will not change: a rug, or armchair, or new coat of paint won't make much difference; our eyes are fickle but we remain the same beneath our suntans, pale, frightened, dreaming ourselves backward and forward in time, dreaming our dreaming selves.
I look forward and see myself looking back.

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