The Magic of Numbers

By Kenneth Koch 1925–2002 Kenneth Koch
                                   The Magic of Numbers—1

How strange it was to hear the furniture being moved around in the apartment upstairs!
I was twenty-six, and you were twenty-two.


                                   The Magic of Numbers—2

You asked me if I wanted to run, but I said no and walked on.
I was nineteen, and you were seven.


                                   The Magic of Numbers—3

Yes, but does X really like us?
We were both twenty-seven.


                                   The Magic of Numbers—4

You look like Jerry Lewis (1950).


                                   The Magic of Numbers—5

Grandfather and grandmother want you to go over to their house for dinner.
They were sixty-nine, and I was two and a half.


                                   The Magic of Numbers—6

One day when I was twenty-nine years old I met you and nothing happened.


                                   The Magic of Numbers—7

No, of course it wasn’t I who came to the library!
Brown eyes, flushed cheeks, brown hair. I was twenty-nine, and you were sixteen.


                                  The Magic of Numbers—8

After we made love one night in Rockport I went outside and kissed the road
I felt so carried away. I was twenty-three, and you were nineteen.


                                  The Magic of Numbers—9

I was twenty-nine, and so were you. We had a very passionate time.
Everything I read turned into a story about you and me, and everything I did was turned into a poem.

Kenneth Koch, “The Magic of Numbers” from The Collected Poems of Kenneth Koch, published by Alfred A. Knopf, Inc. Copyright © 2006 by Kenneth Koch. Reprinted by permission of the Kenneth Koch Literary Estate.

Source: The Collected Poems of Kenneth Koch (Alfred A. Knopf, 2006)

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Poet Kenneth Koch 1925–2002

SCHOOL / PERIOD New York School

Subjects Living, Time & Brevity, Relationships, Love, Friends & Enemies, Family & Ancestors, Arts & Sciences, Poetry & Poets, Humor & Satire, Desire, Unrequited Love