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The Magic of Numbers -- Kenneth Koch

I first became acquainted with Kenneth Koch (1925-2002) through his small and hugely valuable paperback of teaching strategies, *Wishes, Lies, and Dreams: Teaching Children to Write Poetry.* Later, searching for poems about trains, I stumbled upon "One Train May Hide Another" -- which I return to again and again for its wise beauty. Today I present, for our reflection, Koch's poem, "The Magic of Numbers." Enjoy.
** The Magic of Numbers **by 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*, (Alfred A. Knopf, Inc, 2006).
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