The little Puerto Rican girl said
How many years do you have?
She meant how old are you? but
her wooden way of posing that
common question was a doozy.
What my mind’s ear heard was
How many years do you have left?
Christ, life wears us out, I thought.
Then a sharp pang for the unlived life.
Life’s too short to drink bad wine or
write be-good poems or never sleep
beneath the evening stars (which for
a card carrying claustrophobe are
the most soothing objects).
How many years do we have left?
God only knows and he’s not telling.
So mount up and get on with it.
Don’t dither away the difficult splendor.
seek and you shall find
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