I guess twenty-six is the age
Where you begin to forget,
At least, from time to time,
What age you are again.
Perhaps counting is more important–
Or rather, more on the mind
Of our younger selves,
Preoccupied with the value of numbers,
And as we age, we lose sight
Of our quantitative worth,
Becoming increasingly convinced
In the merits of qualitative analysis.
Age, we might say, answers a question:
More ‘what’ than ‘why’,
And what we believe we are
Cannot be numerically valued.
Why, we might also ask,
Does one say “How old are you?”
Does not age lend itself to addressing
The question of the quality of a life?
So then, to the American,
Age is a condition in our lives,
And conditions may be reversed
Or cured by science or other practices.
The French, though, ask it another way:
«Quel âge a-t-il?»
Implying that age references mostly
A possession–entirely apart from self.
And that leaves alone the question
Of what you are and how you are,
Redirecting, instead, or projecting
Temporal worries outside the self.
But when I was asked this morning,
“How old are you?”
None of these thoughts came to mind;
En fait, the mind was mostly blank.