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Adam Fagin

What Comes After Time?

When the hours
face each other
across a room,
having laid their trail
of breadcrumbs
or followed it?
This question leads
only to itself.
At least it travels
in the direction of truth—
in that it becomes
its own consequence,
in that this consequence
finds the world
a cruel abstraction.
Some desire,
some foreboding,
some ecclesiastical device
such as poetry
leaving the mouth.      
Here the city
is a veiled reference,
a sliver of cold fog.
In twilight's
dense extremities,       
we sift softly
its metaphor.

Long Goodbye

I begin to forget you,
the song says,
even as it says,
I will be your long ago

even as it erodes
the melody in which it
lingers, to which
it gives itself.

Is it possible to hold
a before and after–
of romance, of friendship,
of city life, of loss–

as one holds out
one's arms in greeting
or goodbye–

so that no distinction
can be made between them,
the here and there
of it, the yes
and no of things?

If I breathe on a photo
of the room where we spent   
a very long summer,
is that silence
or anthem?

If I watch the air for a day
where your voice wore a thin
vigilance through the person
I have called myself–
is that music?

Love poeticized
out of existence;
lovers crack their heels                                   
on a pantomime
of self-defeat.

But the tune carries
its mute demand.

You can't change
one note of this universe,
it says, without
changing every one.

Adam Fagin is the author of Furthest Ecology, which came out last year from the Center for Literary Publishing at Colorado State University.

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