My classes are over.

Next week is all finals and shifts at work.

Next week is packing, the tearing down of the room I have so nicely made for myself.

Next week is the realization that some things in my life are going to be different in a week, a month, a year.

I am joyous, and I am scared.

I am packing my books into a box, and April is ending.

So I just want to leave April with this poem, like April began. My Aunt Jo introduced me to this poem some number of years ago, but can’t really remember when. It’s just there, and it’s a poem that comes into my mind at times, and I smile. It is beautiful, and not many people I know have heard it. Sort of a secret.

Well, not anymore.

“Always”
Mark Strand

– for Charles Simic

Always so late in the day
in their rumpled clothes, sitting
around a table lit by a single bulb,
the great forgetters were hard at work.
They tilted their heads to one side, closing their eyes.
Then a house disappeared, and a man in his yard with all his flowers in a row.
The moon was next to go.
The great forgetters wrinkled their brows.
Then Florida went and San Francisco
where tugs and barges leave
small gleaming scars across the Bay.
One of the great forgetters struck a match.
Gone were the harps of beaded lights
that vault the rivers of New York.
Another filled his glass
and that was it for crowds at evening
under sulfur-yellow streetlamps coming on.
And afterwards Bulgaria was gone, and then Japan.
‘Where will it end?’ one of them said.
‘Such difficult work, pursuing the fate
of everything known,’ said another.
‘Yes,’ said a third, ‘down to the last stone,
and only the cold zero of perfection
left for the imagination.’
The great forgetters slouched in their chairs.
Suddenly Asia was gone, and the evening star
and the common sorrows of the sun.
One of them yawned. Another coughed.
The last one gazed at the window:
not a cloud, not a tree,
the blaze of promise everywhere.

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