Premise: one exists alone,
Within a system of increasingly mild ideals
—The good of love, the greater good of dreams—
Abstracted from the musings of the grown-up child

That somewhere, in a scene above the sky,
Lies smiling. Anxious to begin
Before the will can answer and its passions fly away
Like sparrows, he lays aside his cares and

Lets the world come, lets its shapes return,
Its mirrors answer and its angels roam across the narrow
Confines of the page. Like friends
Estranged by distance and the inwardness of age,

The spaces between letters become spaces between lives,
The fact of pain begins to seem unreal, the trees
Begin to seem too distant; the imaginary self,
Concealed from the world, begins its cry

Yet remains empty—as though it could contain
No tenderness beyond its own, and no other love
Than that concealed in its own reflection, hovering
On the threshold of age, between two lives.

John Koethe

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