I used to try to think about the future
and now I mainly think about the past.
Was what I thought about what I’ve become
or is what I now think about what I was?
It can be confusing. Only the other day,
when I was walking nowhere in particular,
I saw a young woman coming toward me
and immediately I thought she was someone
I knew, although I couldn’t place her. Then,
as she got closer, I realized that that probably
wasn’t the case, that I was just imagining—
that it was only wishful thinking on my part.
But then, to my surprise, just as she was
about to pass me, she smiled broadly and said,
“Oh, Hi,” just like that, implying that she’d
recognized me. There wasn’t time for me
to say anything, she’d passed so quickly,
and when I turned around she was already
almost out of earshot, clicking her way along
the street, swinging her purse behind her back
and, I’m willing to bet on it, still smiling.

New to The New Criterion?

Subscribe for one year to receive ten print issues, and gain immediate access to our online archive spanning more than four decades of art and cultural criticism.

This article originally appeared in The New Criterion, Volume 32 Number 7, on page 29
Copyright © 2023 The New Criterion | www.newcriterion.com