My Late Life

Stephen Ackerman
| poetry


My late life, father of my delights,
you vanished without explanation
or was it my fate
of which I had been patron
and author until parsimonious death
cut the thread of my days.
No doubt I lent a hand.
How much I have forgotten
that can be temporarily found,
tucked in a volume,
shelved among the infinite rows,
life, my life, passing before my eyes,
the Dewey decimal memories
retrieved at the dark end of the aisle
where young scholars of the body undress,
touch endearingly in the stacks
below the librarians
of south campus.
Close the book and catalogue my love,
turn the corner and a stranger,
an estranged friend, a friend,
a dear friend, appears; the earth
stopped boiling and life evolved, i.e., the lovers
set forth into the afternoon dusk, the cold air
scissored his ears, but her cashmere hands
warmed his hands.
Now the colossal dark descends.
The light is extinguished.
And one friend is a gargoyle
in cathedral stone, another
a sunflower in the west garden.
Voices I no longer hear,
faces I no longer see,
your skin untouched
by me.

Stephen Ackerman has worked since 1989 as an attorney in the Legal Counsel Division of the New York City Law Department. His poems have appeared in several publications, including The Antioch Review, Best New Poets 2010, Boulevard, Columbia Review, Mudfish, Partisan Review, Ploughshares, Seneca Review, upstreet, and on Poetry Daily.

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