“Mitosis”
No one actually remembers them
as not divided. Whoever says he does–
that person is lying.

No one remembers. And somehow
everyone knows:

they had to be, in the beginning, equally straightforward,
committed to a direct path.
In the end, only the body continued
implacably moving ahead, as it had to,
to stay alive.

But at some point the mind lingered.
It wanted more time by the sea, more time in the fields
gathering wildflowers. It wanted
more nights sleeping in its own bed; it wanted
its own nightlight, its favorite drink.
And more mornings–it wanted these
possibly most of all. More
of the first light, the penstemon blooming, the alchemilla
still covered with the evening jewels, the night rain
still clinging to it.

And then, more radically, it wanted to go back.
It wished simply to repeat the whole passage,
like the exultant conductor, who feels only that
the violin might have been a little softer, more plangent.

And through all this, the body
continues like the path of an arrow
as it has, to live.

And if that means to get to the end
(the mind buried like an arrowhead), what choice does it have,
what dream except the dream of the future?

Limitless world! The vistas clear, the clouds risen.
The water azure, the sea plants bending and sighing
among the coral reefs, the sullen mermaids
all suddenly angels, or like angels. And music
rising over the open sea–

Exactly like the dream of the mind.
The same sea, the same shimmering fields.
The plate of fruit, the identical
violin (in the past and the future) but
softer now, finally
sufficiently sad.

–Louise Gluck
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