Light wind, and the low clouds gradually yield to sunlight,
As we – an old friend and myself- sit and chat straight through
The late morning into early afternoon; retirement affords
Such pleasures, and they are easy to accept, easy to share
In the back and forth we hold within the shifting moods we are.
The steady strivings fewer now, unexpected stumblings more
Frequent, cars break down, teeth go bad, and costs multiply so
That just barely getting by becomes the norm, and then the sudden
Shock of a stroke or of a seriously aching hip that needs to be replaced,
Even the mere fumblings of language or of thought, fading eyes,
Hearing that doesn’t quite get what is being said…at times it seems
That the floor is cracking and each wandering step might foretell
A toppling over, a sprawling out on a surface that will not hold,
Yet the season’s fresh blooms do delight as do the streams
Of laughing kids on their way back to school after a quick
Grab at a downtown lunch. We were they not long ago,
And now we rise to other, fewer things, journals, practices, poems,
Even love’s shattering fall aways, slow recoveries, or final loss.
We hug and say goodbye, and I’m off alone and stumbling to
My car, close by, parked across the way, then suddenly I flinch
At the low, harsh, rasping deep insistent cough of a singular
Black car that prowls the now empty street, its motion a slow
Jerking thundering, this with the bright open sky above,
And I, fearing a fall, steady my trembling self. The car stops,
I step away and turn to clutch the door of another car.
It might be mine, I do have my keys, I’ll find out soon enough.