By Paul T. Hogan
The back-handed trick done: I wake up
and am sixty; nothing in my head of anything
gone before. I would never
have my room like this I think,
rubbing sight into eyes. And what is my work?
I roll over and wake up again
sixty, heart wobbling beats
within me, mind furiously seeking
connections: What have I done?
It’s magic after all, this ability to speak.
Magic to remember. If I sleep again
I’ll wake up thirty, or eighteen, whisky
in my voice, certain of my place
and all the time I need to prove it.
But sleep is magic, too, and this spell
that spins me, open-eyed and back, still
leaves me sixty, conjuring a life
behind me that is nonetheless
behind me, even if revisable
with an easy incantation, powerful
in just the way magic is as it packs itself back up
in worn flowerprint carpetbags, and floats,
dreamlike, away; off in swirls of breath,
late sun and dry leaves.
Contributor’s Note: PAUL T. HOGAN is the author of two collections of poetry: “Points of Departures: Poems” (White Pine Press, 2008) and “Inventories” (BlazeVox Books, 2012). A former Navy veteran and the recipient of the David Gray Fellowship in Poetry at the University at Buffalo under the late Robert Creeley, he has worked for and consulted with a variety of nonprofit organizations in the arts, adult education, research, community health and health care. He is currently the executive vice president of the John R. Oishei Foundation, where he has worked since 2001.