Middle Age

It doesn’t happen at the end of anything.
Suddenly, you’re in a country of winter.
The snow accumulating by the foot
of the grave of your first love. Or the idea

of that first love, which has become the first
of many dead ends. The years twisting
that light bulb into place—finally
beginning to flicker. Far, still, from wisdom,

but starting to make sense of the meaningless:
The world has stopped betraying you.
The women you meet too. Gone
the days to wander. A smaller city of possibility

in the wake of your footprints. A more precise story. 
A map of many fine lines drawn on the narrow beach
of the known universe. 
Soon, the conclusion of a thousand stories.

All more demanding now 
of your time. Unavoidable
like the center of the Earth. 
Soon, you too will discriminate

by your truest desires. You will sit and wonder
again, like a child, by a window
in a place. And any place
feels deserted. 

“Is this my last snowstorm?” you ask  
as you kneel and pray for the clouds
to rage as you once did. This, you’ve learned,
is what it truly means to love.


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