Fifty

February 18, 2019

 

Fifty

 

 

He said if you keep punishing

yourself like this you’ll be old

 

by the time you’re fifty

and right there in the instant

of him saying it I became fifty

 

I was never able to go back

 

and it was never made clear to me

what might have transpired

in the obliterated years between

 

had I performed myself inside them

exceedingly quickly or had I

 

not lived them at all

 

I felt as though I had memories

a deaccessioned painting

hovel with keyhole doorway

 

anecdotes of conglomerates

and their cocktail-napkin origins

 

was I supposed to be charmed

 

hardest of all was the recentness

of every egregious outburst

 

every midnight plummet

the adjacency I couldn’t wish away

I was fifty and my worst

 

mistakes I’d made just yesterday

 

 

 

Natalie Shapero is the author of the poetry collections Hard Child and No Object. Her writing has appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Times Magazine, The Nation, Poetry, and elsewhere. She teaches at Tufts University.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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