Distance

is what you learn about stars:
how they burn themselves out,
long before you ever get
the messages they’re sending
through light. One day you lift

your head, and it is many years
later: twenty, thirty. You feel so far
away from where you started,
can barely retrace the exact
steps it took to get here. If so
many things have changed, how

come others continue to expect
the opposite? You look at pictures
of yourself from another time: girl
in blue pleated skirt and white
blouse, girl with a white veil.
There are people you haven’t

spoken to in ages, still going to
the same corner bakery for bread
rolls in the morning, still
bickering over who gets the biggest
share of anything. All that too,
you want to put time and space

between. There was a time you thought
you might be able to change old wood
for new, chart a different course
for others. A mistake: each thing
must spend itself until all its light
is gone, even if it doesn’t know it.

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