World Without Finishing
At the end of The Family of Man
the last photograph, a boy and girl,
probably siblings, five and three maybe,
pose, backs to us as they enter a forest
in soft focus, the leaves silver, shivering
toward expectations beyond the scope of dawn.
Beneath it: A world to be born under their footsteps—
Saint-John Perse. Reader, I wish I could speak to you
without such illustration of what occurs to me
at dawn now, in my seventies, but this one image
is what I turn to, stuporous and half-awake,
my aching hand about my coffee cup assurance
the body I am carrying is a gift,
one I will give back after the last days.