Elegy with Two Sets of Finite Numbers
The dead are adding up
and the world, this sunny day
of a woman walking up the street,
shoulders warm in her blouse,
doesn’t want them back.
I’m thinking now not mainly
of yours and mine, speckled hands
we held, eyes we searched,
but of those who kept loose tabs
on us, your former teacher, a poet
who read me well, the guy
with dirty postings
on his office door down the hall.
There was that friend my mother
loved, the heavy, kind woman who
photographed the heavy ships arriving.
Does anyone see those photographs?
But then, that’s not the point,
not really, is it? There are
so many more of them than us.
I’m not thinking specifically of your dead
or mine. I’m not. Today
I’m thinking of those we knew enough
to notice they won’t be walking by
and seeing us, the ones who knew them,
while there are any of us left.