When I Am Old

WHEN I AM OLD

When I am old I will shoot a fascist general
From the balcony of an old hotel. I will brush
The snow from the railing and rest the barrel.
I see him now, walking in the rose garden
With his wife, then drinking coffee in a sidewalk cafe.
He will have summer; I, winter. I will wear
A beret if my hair falls out. He could be
A retired fascist general who smokes a pipe and walks with his wife,
A dignified old man, such as I hope to be someday myself.

Do not give me a man who solved lives
For a mansion, a mistress, a mercedes. There are
So many, and so many waiting, and it would be worth nothing.
I want a man who killed responsibly, for a shape of the world. He will
Fight the rose on his coat as would a trout a hook
Or a young athlete a disease.
Give me the one who will look up and recognize me.
I will show him the black hole. He is my responsibility.

The concentration camps will not close if neither you nor I kill.
That is a vain hope. Men must feed their families.
The victims fall into their graves like snowflakes.
I imagine that they are intricate but I cannot
Examine them through the window. In my time
A few have fallen into my hands. For love, not this.

I will stay here by the window, thinking of this man,
And of his wife , and of how I will behave before the police.
When it is dark, I will see myself in the glass.

Paul Anthony Hutchinson
This poem was published in Geist and in O Telemachus

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