Life's like that, too: you can't read it
straight through from the beginning to end.
Again and again
it pulls you up, pulls you back
into the past you never knew you had,
those casual, off-the-cuff prophesies
that all came true, the themes
announcing themselves in your own mouth, but foreign,
the way your true self always is,
a joke, not meant to signify
but merely amuse.
Or perhaps it spits you up on the shore
of a life ten years your senior,
with nothing of yourself but a child's memory
and a child's hunger, and the obligations
of a stranger. He keeps
his life to himself, his friends
don't know you, and you fumble about
for some way of beginning again
at the beginning.
Isn't that the way of it?
Or do some manage still to live
in the old way, knowing
from year to year and day to day
what comes next, how the plot turns
on their dreams, and their last words
already second nature?
Jeff Klooger has had work published in a number of Australian literary
journals, including Meanjin, Overland and Westerly,
with more to appear in Famous Reporter, Retort Magazine
and dotlit. He has a PhD in social theory and philosophy from La