Rarely, soapy-handed, I stop
and look. Who is that?
I’ve seen that face
in pictures, younger,
smiling, hair dark and glossy.
Wrinkles covered by
beard and bifocals, I might pass
In pictures from my first wedding,
just a decade and a half ago, just yesterday.
Slimmer, touched with gray,
At my sister’s seder
the day before yesterday
trim, with moustache waxed and a head
full of grand, grandiose dreams.
The wax sits on a shelf in the closet.
Where are the dreams?
Smaller visions seep into their emptied space.
Play center field for the Yankees? Cancel that.
Make a family? Enter a check mark.
Tear up the Pulitzer acceptance speech.
Write a poem?
Add up the score.
Subtract the losses.
Rinse off the past.
Start the next day.
This poem first appeared in My Poem Rocks (2009).
Used here with the author’s permission.