My Argument with Sartre’s Math

One always dies too soon or too late. And yet, life is there, finished: the line is drawn, and it must all be added up. You are nothing other than your life.
— Jean-Paul Sartre

We outgrow the soil
from which we grew
our early fame and infamy,
seeds flung by storms
into new, forgotten grounds.
Or, we compost our youth.
George Sand’s sturdy suits,
love affairs, tobacco smoke
for menopausal altruism.
Malcolm X’s white devils
for brotherly love’s final gun.
Mark Twain’s naive Finn and Jim
for the dark Mysterious Stranger.
Ram Dass’ Harvard spin with LSD
for Now’s inner God of Stroke.
My father’s four kids—cut losses—
for a Spirit World pardon of a line
of broken boys-turned-our-fathers.
My early LDS one True Church
for many truths, my groping
hungry ghosts for natural mind.
For what blooms will you be known
after your long, weedy life?
Change the metaphor, writer, fisher,
hope your readers understand
your denouement and fall with you,
uncaught by the unknotted net.

2019

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