When you are old and when you are removed from those people
who knew you back when and set down among strangers
you have no past. You are an old man
with his chin in his fists. You are an old man with his chin gracious when.
You are yet another old man
waiting in some line or other, gracious when
you let the woman in back of you go first because there is no hurry
whatsoever you are in.
It is not graciousness
that moves you
to the back of the line you look around you even now you see is growing.
You look around you at the young people like people you have never known
anyone like.     When you’re young you think
you must be seen
by other people and for any reason
Now you, the you you
must be seen by
glance at in the mirror at someone you would be
only if you were to stick around that long.
The people who knew you once—
what they saw when they saw you
was not the fish
pulled out of the water dangled
from the line it twists on.
Kids swoop down on their bright bicycles like flocks of birds—
and run they run run red lights.