Counting Backwards

How did I get so old,
I wonder,
contemplating
my 67th birthday.
Dyslexia smiles:
I’m 76 in fact.

There are places
where at 60 they start
counting backwards;
in Japan
they start again
from one.

But the numbers
hardly matter.
It’s the physics
of acceleration I mind,
the way time speeds up
as if it hasn’t guessed

the destination—
where look!
I see my mother
and father bearing a cake,
waiting for me
at the starting line.

Poem copyright ©2010 by Linda Pastan, whose most recent book of poems is Traveling Light, W.W. Norton, 2011. Poem reprinted from Nimrod International Journal, Awards 32, Vol. 54, no. 1, 2010. Rights granted by Linda Pastan, in care of the Jean V. Naggar Literary Agency.
More Poems by Linda Pastan