Nothing’s new anymore. The vellum of a face
on which is written, “Forty years, half a century.”
I know that the volcano Laki caused a famine
in 1783, but I still haven’t seen Reykjavík.
I’m always in the same Zen garden trying to turn
the raked sand into an ocean. Why do I wonder
if I’ll ever be as elegant as the cheap Andean
handkerchief in my pocket? So many roses,
so little love. I stopped traveling, except in books.
Behind my father’s house is the bamboo grove
where he played. “You should observe
the faces of children,” Wittgenstein advised.
I think of you most on Saturday evenings,
after it’s rained, and the air in the garden is new.
This poem first appeared in Raritan.