Report Card

noaa ice house made of sod mod 1

Old age arrived today. No kids, no book.
Thirty-five years married, mostly
solitary–bad marks for not getting out
before the wherewithal to go was gone.
Half a lifetime teaching—bad marks for
thinking anybody gave a damn when
screen-light-sound-bite dope was easy trumps.
Long years of drag-down from the bully boss–
bad marks for not getting that no raise
ten years was ten years being fired.
Bad marks in most major categories–
freezing when stunned, not sucking it up
the not being loved, slow to know, and bent
by the usual catastrophes, headaches,
heartaches, death, the bad good knee.
Bad marks for not attending to the drift.
Bad marks for the dark inside, the alien
encampments and bonfires, the skirmishes
in my brain. Bad marks for not being
fuckin’ glad about my metamorphosis,
my reticulated body, my unhinged face.
Bad marks for trying—twice—to open the
front door with the car remote, and for not
getting the hang of phones that don’t hang up.
Bad marks for bad grace and bad memory–
did I mention that already? Bad marks
for forty years of writing someone will
throw out when I die—I won’t care then
but I do now—because I’m still alive.

altered image; original image: sod ice house, 1912, NOAA Photo Library,