Ready to take the first decisive step,
you pull your purpose round you like a cloak.
A draft stirs, chilly, stale,
redolent of some half-remembered mix:
anticipation, appetite, regret.
If the liminal can be called a place,
this place might bear your name,
if you have a name, who hesitate
to step over the threshold.
Successive selves superimposed
form a Muybridge composite, frenetic,
blurry, yet motionless,
body suspended in its bustling purpose,
each movement slivered as it arcs through space.
Zeno’s paradox: how many baby
steps will take you through that door? Divide
each gesture or each inch in two: the process
slows to a crawl. Is it a one-way passage,
and if so, which way were you heading?
Will simply standing still defer time’s flow?
The dust motes swirl, and there you are, abstracted
in the chamber of the in-between
where if there were a window you might see
seasons, a bare tree, a setting moon.
At first you think that you’ll be moving on.
This article originally appeared in The New Criterion, Volume 30 Number 3, on page 29
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