Starting with the End

As a young avid reader
I always read the Introduction or Prologue,
when offered,
to see if this treatise overture
would take me some place I cared to wade through.

As an old avid reader
I always begin with the last chapter
because I may not otherwise have time to get there
and because its always offered, eventually,
and here I listen to learn if it might transport me
to some place I care about and believe in
and might even faithfully hope for;
a place I have not yet been
promising a pause in wonder
about where I might be now
had I only visited earlier.

Biographies are especially telling
as the end where history has brought each writer
to remember what these assembled lives and thoughts have become together
and are now replete unfolded
for all to see and rediscover
how extremes of final stages
like shared nascence of embryonic birth and infant interests
seem to land as we began
withdrawn from adolescent and middle-aging fuss and blunder,
both respectability and revolutionary thunder,
so good in our coming to, and escape from, ripe time
now echoing warnings
to start and end each new narrative’s last chapter first.

I might not have time to invest
in earlier stages of this story’s redevelopment,
especially if the last chapter doesn’t sound
at least as healthy wealthy as my own
last day and night so far,
which I probably should plan
to finish writing soon.


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