Audio: Read by the author.
I killed the younger versions of myself in the mirror
by living up to this present day. Growing old is a form
of gloating decay where your deepest lines are written
by laughter and gravity. Like Seneca told Nero,
the one person you will never kill is your successor.
Time is one bad mother, said Jesus right before that
first nail encouraged him to rethink some choices.
Or maybe that was me, ropy veins rising on these
hands that hold a blade up to my own soft throat.
Michael Bazzett’s poems have appeared in The Sun, Tin House, Ploughshares, and American Poetry Review. He is the author of three collections of poetry, and his recent verse translation of the Mayan creation epic, The Popol Vuh (Milkweed), was named one of 2018’s ten best books of poetry by the New York Times.
The Image archive is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.