Time travel is not likely,
Yet I suspect a time when
Communication might flow back,
Unleashed across years that
Insulate us from former selves.
Given a chance
To enrich the foresight
Of the youth who bequeathed
My wisdom, I would
Seize the moment. I might
Warn him off a friendship,
Tell him when not to fret, and
Give him a suggestion
For his benefit and mine.
I would not, however, tell
Things he should have known.
I would not, for example, tell him
What he should have anticipated
Sitting on a runway in London:
After leaping from the cold wet earth,
Emerging from cloud to see
Other planes rising like sparks from
Fire crackling beneath luminous fog,
Clearing the Channel and
Heading toward Sicily,
He would see from the cockpit
All the lights of France
Condense in blackness to form
A city of lights. And how
On a clear cold night he would
See a tiny ‘A’, the Eiffel tower,
Standing like a constellation in a field of stars.
To ruin such surprise, bare as it were to anticipation,
Would amount to a cruelty I cannot inflict.
I would be kind talking across time, and
Keep him in the dark until he
Sees the lights of Paris and thinks:
Of course, of course.
No, I would not be cruel. But I would ask
That he return the favor and share with me,
If he could, that surprise
January 1, 2005