Mortal Dialectic
Brett Foster (bio)

  It’s about years, and hoping to have them.
More years out there always, good ones
or otherwise. To thrive in the living
remaining, to glean the rest steadily,

is the old man’s answer, infant’s legacy,
unforgiveable squander of the charlatan,
the near-suicide’s compromise with her
own beating heart, durable as a stone.

Wizened saint in a ghetto street, the moon
the septuagenarian will reorbit
soon, the 90-year-old poet at the height
of her powers: their dwindling means to blaze.

  Or they matter little. Rather for days
of greatness go forward, just a few,
and if not that, at least a certain near-
perfection in the hard art of being.

After despair (or work) there comes something
not unlike peace. Walk home from the train
and take a bath. Bare, at rest, satisfied:
Easy to die tonight, the body a sieve

or annus mirabilis. Who believes
the short life of Keats was tragic,
incomplete in its wisdom? His great spark
lights the tramways of eternity.

  Or all about the same. By each
try simply to merit the fitness of a lone
occasion, and match what’s given. Time makes
one arc—the earnest and enduring theme.



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