Old age arrived today. No kids, no books.
Thirty-five years married, mostly spent
alone—bad marks for not getting out
when the wherewithal to go was good.
Over half a lifetime teaching—bad marks
for thinking anybody gave a damn.
A decade beat-down by a bully boss—
bad marks for not seeing that
for the decade of being fired it was.
Bad marks in most major categories—
freezing when stunned, not sucking it up
the not being loved, being slow to know,
being bent by the usual catastrophes—
headaches, heartaches, chest pain, death,
erstwhile friends, bad knees, bad health.
Bad marks for not attending to the drift.
Bad marks for the dark inside, the alien
encampments and bonfires and 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.
Bad marks for just 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—damn it all, I’m still alive.
altered image; original image: sod ice house, 1912, NOAA Photo Library, http://www.photolib.noaa.gov/htmls/fish7254.htm