Wednesday, July 19, 2017

POEM: At Sixty-Five (For Rick)

At sixty-five you think you’d have absorbed
enough wisdom through the pores of your skin,
settling in your lungs, travelling to your heart
& brain to give you something practical
to say. But no. That’s not the gift that was
given to you. Instead, joy is your su-
per power, not invisibility,
not strength. Not even the power to with-
stand raging fire, or to turn into ice
at a moment’s notice. Joy: that bounding
dance that unbinds us, that loosens us a-
gainst a world that double-bolts everything.
At sixty-five you’d think the memories
of us as children would be visible
from the outside, tattooed through the stories.
which never wear out from the re-telling.
Like thick marinara, aromas fill
the head. What I see is a mop-headed
kid counting planets in the night sky, who
taught me calculus in grade school, lying
flat on your back surrounded by churlish
waters, hands locked behind your neck while the
world burned to the ground around you. “Relax,”
you said. I love you for that. At sixty-
five you’d think you’ve entertained us enough,
roaming the globe with your guitars, & harm-
onicas, foam clown noses & fake thumbs
enough to make your point: that it’s a sin
to be too serious. But no. Somehow
the show always went on. At sixty-five
you’d think it’s time to look down, as if on
a mountaintop to total your blessings
& regrets into columns for the great
balance sheet of a life. But no. You
move as a hummingbird - from flower to
flower - giving all a life suspended
in mid-air, your finest illusion yet.

& I love you for that.


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